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January 1993

Parallel Profile - Ewing "Rusty" Lusk

Senior Computer Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory

Ewing "Rusty" Lusk received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame (1965), and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland (1969 and 1970), all in mathematics. He began his career as an assistant professor of mathematics at Northern Illinois University, but later moved into the Computer Science Department, where he eventually became a full professor and the acting chairman of the department. In 1982, Lusk joined Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) as a computer scientist, and was named to his current position of senior computer scientist in 1989. Along with Paul Messina and Jack Dongarra, Lusk was instrumental in founding Argonne's Advanced Computing Research Facility, which signalled the beginning of Argonne's commitment to parallel computing research.

Lusk's research interests are in the areas of parallel computing, program visualization, automated theorem proving, logic programming, and database technology. His current projects include research into programming models for parallel architectures, parallel performance analysis tools, and an implementation of the MPI Message-Passing Standard. MPI provides a common interface for distributed-memory concurrent computers and networks of workstations. It is a key component in building a concurrent computing environment in which applications, software libraries, and tools can be transparently ported between different machines.

"I think that the development of the MPI Standard is probably the most important thing that I have worked on," says Lusk. "The process of developing a community standard, in cooperation with vendors, computer scientists, and users, was fascinating to participate in. The experience was social as well as technical, and succeeded because of the many people who worked hard to achieve a common goal. It was then possible to work on implementation research for MPI as a way of convincing a broad range of people that the standard was efficient to implement and use. We realized that if we succeeded we would be impacting a whole generation of parallel programmers."

Lusk is a leading member of teams that have produced the Argonne theorem-proving systems, the Aurora parallel Prolog system, the p4 parallel programming environment, and the MPICH implementation of the MPI Standard. He has chaired or been a participant in numerous professional events and is the co-holder of 10 research grants awarded by the National Science Foundation and other organizations. He is the co-author of three books on automated reasoning and parallel computing, and has authored more than 75 research articles in mathematics, automated deduction and parallel computing.