Purdue Center to Grow Software Programming Collaboration

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(photo courtesy of Purdue University) (photo courtesy of Purdue University)

Purdue University has launched a new center focused on combining research in the construction of computer software. The Purdue Center for Programming Principles and Software Systems will create collaboration among researchers from the university's Department of Computer Science and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The university says the center aims to connect fundamental research in programming languages and software engineering with domains including artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Milind Kulkarni, professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-director of PurPL, tells Inside INdiana Business collaboration will be key at the center.

"A big part of what we want to do with the center is bring together researchers from different areas of computing and really even beyond computing areas, in engineering and science as well, to sort of think about how we can use fundamental design principles for software to really tackle the problems that people have across all of these domains," said Kulkarni. "I think that we have a real opportunity at Purdue with the breadth of experience and the depth of expertise in all of these areas to really tackle these problems in fundamental and truly impactful ways."

Kulkarni will lead the center along with Tiark Rompf, a professor of computer science at Purdue. Rompf says the research being done at the center is necessary because of the changing landscape of software design.

"Traditionally, software has been programmed by using rules of logic and, more and more, this is switching to algorithms that are learned from data," said Rompf. "In computing, there are different areas. People are doing research on AI and deep learning. There are researchers working on security. There are researchers working on programming languages and typically, people in these domains don't really talk to each other so the main goal of the center is really to connect people, to bring these areas together and build something that is bigger than the sum of its parts."

Purdue says the founding group of affiliated faculty at the center includes 10 experts in programming language, as well as eight experts in domains such as AI, machine learning, security, cryptography, and computational science and engineering. The initial research at the center is being supported by large government grants, as well as an industry consortium including Facebook, Microsoft, and AI chip startup SambaNova Systems.

"Our industry partners appreciate the early access to cutting-edge research, opportunities for knowledge-sharing, as well as structured interactions with faculty and students," Rompf said in a news release. "Companies are constantly looking to hire the best and brightest, so interacting with students and finding the right ones for internships and full-time positions is a key reason why companies participate in centers like PurPL."

The university will kick off the center with PurPL Fest, a symposium that will be hosted concurrently with the annual Midwest PL Summit Workshop in late September.

Kulkarni says collaboration will be key at the center.
Rompf says the research being done at the center is necessary because of the changing landscape of software design.
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