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Prof Reaps $773G Grant for Data Studies

Lowell Sun
By Katie Lannan

LOWELL -- A UMass Lowell professor is the recipient of almost $773,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation for his research in data management that aims to solve everyday problems, like GPS units directing users to the wrong address. 

Professor Tingjian Ge, a Westford resident, received the NSF Career Award, the research funding agency's highest honor, along with two grants to fund projects he is working on with his students. 

The career award is accompanied by $474,110 in grant money, distributed over the course of five years. Ge plans to use this funding to support his Managing Uncertain Scientific Experimental Data, or MUSE, project, which looks to solve the query-processing challenges that exist in large scientific databases shared among different researchers replicating the same experiment. 

"Little has been done to query this data repository in an integrated and automatic manner, mainly because the results among different replicates of an experiment often show a large degree of inconsistency," Ge said in a statement. 

The goal of Ge's second project, which received a NSF grant for $298,751, is to provide precise, informative answers for the data queries users make on devices such as smartphones, GPS units, medical-monitoring equipment and highway traffic sensors. 

Although users of these devices rely on a speedy response for real-time decision-making, the data they generate is often uncertain and can lead to inaccurate results. One common example of this is when drivers closely follow GPS directions, but arrive at an incorrect street address provided by the device. 

"Effectively querying, analyzing and monitoring such data quickly in real time is a critical and challenging problem," Ge said. 

Ge, who joined the university's faculty in January, teaches courses on database systems, data management and probabilistic methods. He received his doctorate in computer science from Brown University, as well as a master's degree from the University of California Davis and a bachelor of engineering degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing. 

NSF Career Awards have previously gone to UMass Lowell computer-science professors Benyuan Liu, Fred Martin, Jie Wang and Holly Yanco.