Jeffrey Von Ronne, an assistant professor in the department of computer science, has won a $425,000 Faculity Early Career Development (CAREER) research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
According to the NSF Web site, the CAREER award is one of the “National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award(s) in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”
Von Ronne is looking at using the grant money to develop faster and safer computer programs.
“What I’m specifically looking at is programs that add new capabilities while the computers are running,” Von Ronne said. “Like web browsers when you have a new plug-in.”
Von Ronne explained that when you add new plug-ins, such as updates to a video player, the coding on the computer expands. His goal is to create programs that check the properties of these new programs.
“The code that the web browser is running is growing and changing while the program runs,” Von Ronne said. “What I’m doing is making sure that the programs still run after the new code is in.”
Von Ronne is the fourth consecutive member of his department to win the CAREER award, which demonstrates the changes that the department has had.
“These awards are major indications of the progress of the computer science department,”
George Perry, dean of the College of Sciences, said. “In fact, almost all of the faculty in the computer science department have an NSF grant.”
Perry also commented on how the College of Sciences has been working to recruit talented professors.
“I look at recent accomplishments, their portfolio, if they’re coming to us with a grant already and what they bring to help the students,” Perry said.
With all the awards and accomplishments coming from the computer science department, the subject of tier one status was brought up.
“That effort right there is already tier one,” Perry said. “And it shows that, by winning that award, that this piece is already working like a tier one university.”
With all the prestige and praise for his award, Von Ronne feels that his work is not complete.
“CAREER awards are kind of meant to be the first grants that faculty get and prove to that you are at the level of a nationally recognized researcher,” he said.
Despite the modesty, Von Ronne couldn’t help but show some excitement when talking about his accomplishment.
“It helps prove that I’m the real deal,” he said.