Two professors awarded 2023 Thornton Faculty Research Innovation Fellowships (FRIFs)

From left to right: Caroline Uhler, Adam Chlipala. Photos courtesy of the subjects.

Professor Adam Chlipala and Professor of EECS and in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) Caroline Uhler have been awarded the 2023 Thornton Faculty Research Innovation Fellowship (FRIF) awards. Funded by a generous donation from the late Professor Emeritus Richard “Dick” Thornton SM ’54, ScD ’57, the FRIF awards were established in 2011 to provide tenured, mid-career faculty with the funding resources and freedom necessary to explore new research directions, resulting in potentially important discoveries through early-stage research.

Adam Chlipala joined MIT in 2011 and is a Professor of EECS. He earned his BS from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 2003, and his MS and PhD from Berkeley in 2004 and 2007, respectively. He spent time at Jane Street as a software developer and Harvard as a postdoc before joining MIT. Chlipala is the head of the Programming Languages and Verification Group in CSAIL, where his research focuses on developing methods for integrating the work of software design and verification. He has also done extensive foundational work in building general computational infrastructure to support programming, verification, and automatic code generation. Chlipala has applied his techniques to several key systems areas such as file system verification, hardware design, and cryptographic libraries for use in building secure systems. His recent work on cryptographic libraries has been adopted by Google for its Chrome web browser, and his formal semantics for the RISC-V processor have recently been adopted as the official specification for the processor’s instruction set architecture. 

Among other honors, Chlipala has been awarded a 2013 NSF CAREER award, a Best Paper award at SOSP 2015 for his FSCQ work on file system verification, the Most Influential Paper award at the International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP) 2018 and two Communication of the ACM (CACM) research highlights. He was also elected as ACM Distinguished Member in 2019.

Caroline Uhler joined the MIT faculty in 2015 and is currently a full professor in EECS (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) and IDSS (Institute for Data, Systems and Society). At MIT, she is also affiliated with LIDS (Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems), the Center for Statistics, Machine Learning at MIT, and the ORC (Operations Research Center). In addition, she is a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she is a co-director of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center. Uhler’s research focuses on machine learning, statistics and computational biology, in particular on causal inference, generative modeling, and applications to genomics. Her use of probabilistic graphical models and development of scalable algorithms with healthcare applications has enabled her research group to gain insights into causal relationships hidden within massive amounts of data (such as those generated during gene knockout or knockdown experiments.) 

Uhler holds an MSc in mathematics, a BSc in biology, and an MEd in mathematics education from the University of Zurich, and a PhD in statistics from UC Berkeley. Before joining MIT, she spent a semester in the “Big Data” program at the Simons Institute at UC Berkeley, held postdoctoral positions at the IMA and at ETH Zurich, and spent 3 years as an assistant professor at IST Austria. She is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and is the recipient of a Simons Investigator Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF Career Award, a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Humboldt Foundation, and a START Award from the Austrian Science Foundation. Recently, she was named a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Class of 2023. 

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