The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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College of Engineering Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

The College of Engineering welcomes new faculty members Dr. Eleni Christofa, who will join the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department after recently earning her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. David Irwin, who will join the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department after earning his doctorate in Computer Science at Duke University. Christofa’s main research areas of interest are intelligent transportation systems, traffic operations and control, sustainable infrastructure management, public transportation systems, and incident detection and management. Irwin’s research focuses on cyber-physical systems, sustainability and green computing, next-generation clouds and networks, and embedded sensor systems.

Dr. Christofa received her Master’s in Transportation Engineering at Berkeley and, before that, attended the National Technical University of Athens in Greece and earned her Diploma in Civil Engineering with specialization in Transportation Engineering. She is interested in developing a lab that will focus on more efficient and sustainable traffic management strategies for urban transportation networks, with the main interest being the use of signal control systems to better manage multimodal traffic in order to mitigate congestion, increased travel time, emissions, etc.

Her honors include the University of California Transportation Center Award, a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, a Gordon F. Newell Memorial Fellowship, and the Eugenides Foundation Scholarship for Graduate Studies.

Dr. Christofa plans on using advanced teaching techniques and incorporating new technologies in the classroom. Her goal is to educate the future generations of engineers to become independent thinkers, who are able to solve real-world problems and develop innovative solutions through research.

“Although the cold snowy winter will be a new challenge for me,” she said, “I am excited and look forward to be joining the UMass CEE faculty and a growing and very dynamic department.”

Dr. Irwin received his M.S. in Computer Science from Duke and his B.S. with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science from Vanderbilt University. He has been working on experimental distributed systems since 2001, and has co-authored numerous refereed journal, conference, and workshop papers in the area. His dissertation - An Operating System Architecture for Networked Server Infrastructure - focuses on improving resource management for networked collections (or “clouds”) of physical and virtual hardware. 

As part of this work, his 2003 HPDC paper was selected as one of the best 20 papers to appear in the conference's first 20 years. Much of this research continues as part of the National Science Foundation’s GENI initiative, which selected software he designed as part of his dissertation to serve as one of its four foundational “control frameworks.”

 GENI is an NSF-funded initiative to develop a global testbed for deploying future Internet architectures at scale, which currently includes over 100 projects spanning universities and industry labs throughout the country with aggregate funding of over $40 million. Since 2008, Dr. Irwin has served as senior personnel for a series of large grants from the NSF GENI Program with the purpose of building out a nationwide GENI prototype. His current research focuses on reducing the cost and carbon footprint of society's energy use. Recent work in this area has won the best paper award at GreenNets 2011, appeared in the best papers session at PerCom 2012, and was selected as the ``Pick of the Month" in June 2012 for the IEEE Sustainable Computing Register.

As he said about joining the ECE department, “I am excited to be a part of such a great department with so many exciting projects happening. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute through my own teaching and research projects at the intersection of computing systems design and sustainability.” (August 2012)