PhD Student Daniel Byrne, CS, Awarded Finishing Fellowship

by Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing

The Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and dean have awarded a Summer 2021 Finishing Fellowship to PhD student Daniel Byrne, Computer Science. Byrne will receive full support for the semester, which includes three research credit hours and a stipend.

“The panel was impressed with your research, publication record, and contribution to the mission of Michigan Tech,” says the award letter. “The intent of this fellowship is to allow you to focus your time on your dissertation so that you can complete your degree requirements during the fellowship period.”

Byrne’s research centers around the modeling and optimization of memory systems, which are found in today’s datacenters. He explains that data caching helps improve the speed and efficiency of front-end cloud applications, such as websites and video streaming.

In collaboration with researchers at the University of Rochester, Byrne has developed a new data caching system. “Our system uses intelligent data replication and allocation across multiple memory devices to maximize performance while reducing overall operating costs,” Byrne says.

“Specifically, we focus on utilizing new memory technologies to lower operational costs while meeting performance targets,” Byrne adds. “Even small increases in performance and energy savings have significant impact over an entire deployment of servers.”

His improvements to caching systems have already been adopted outside the lab, into a widely-used open-source caching system called “memcached.”

“Daniel’s research focuses on modeling and designing a hybrid memory system where the conventional DRAM (faster, but more expensive) and the emerging non-volatile memory (NVM, cheaper but slower) are combined to host a key-value store,” says Dr. Zhenlin Wang, Computer Science, Byrne’s faculty advisor, along with Dr. Nilufer Onder, associate professor in the CS department.

Wang expects that Byrne’s research will have a long term impact on design and implementation of a hybrid key-value store. “His work explores the theoretical properties of and interactions between inclusive and exclusive caches, a design space which has never been investigated before,” Wang says.

Byrne began his Michigan Tech PhD studies in computer science in Fall 2016. “I am grateful for the amount of support from my advisors, the Computer Science department, and the Graduate School during my PhD program,” he says.

“I am also incredibly grateful for my PhD committee’s support as I finish my dissertation over the summer. It has been a wonderful journey, and I have greatly enjoyed my time as a graduate student, especially my tenure as GSG vice president.”

“I extend my sincere gratitude to the Graduate School for this support during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation,” he adds.

“I also would like to thank the College of Computing for its efforts in creating a strong research environment and a supportive community of graduate students and faculty.”

Recipients of the fellowship are expected to finish during the semester for which funding is provided, maintain good academic and conduct standing, publish their work in internationally recognized peer review journals, among other requirements.

Byrne served as vice president of the Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government from Summer 2019 to Spring 2020. He says he is happy to have had the opportunity to advocate for graduate students and achieve increased support for health care, an initiative he championed during his tenure.

In Spring 2019 he received a Graduate Student Service Award, which is awarded by the Graduate Student Government Executive Board. The Service Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the graduate community at Michigan Tech. See the April 5, 2019, announcement in Tech Today here.

View Byrne’s Github page here.

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