Brian Dean and Jacob Sorber, who are both in the School of Computing, are the latest winners of Dean’s Professorship Awards.

Anand Gramopadhye, the dean of the College of Engineering and Science, established the award to recognize and provide funding for high-performing faculty members.

“Congratulations to Drs. Dean and Sorber,” Gramopadhye said. “The award recognizes top talent in the College of Engineering and Science, and both richly deserve this honor.”

Brian Dean

Dean serves as the director of the USA Computing Olympiad in addition to his teaching and research duties as an associate professor in the School of Computing.

Brian Dean

Brian Dean

Each year, the Olympiad supports computing education at the high-school level by providing on-line learning resources and algorithmic programming competitions in which thousands of students participate.

The program brings together the nation’s top high-school computing students for an intensive summer training camp, held at Clemson since 2010.  The top four are then selected to represent the USA at the International Olympiad in Informatics, the world’s most prestigious programming contest at the high school level.

Dean was a member of the USA programming team himself as a student in 1994. He became a coach three years later, and has been helping to organize the Olympiad since.

Aside from computing education, Dean has broad research interests, covering most of algorithmic computer science and its applications.  Particular areas of emphasis include combinatorial optimization, approximation and randomized algorithms, data structures, data mining, and biomedical informatics.

The National Science Foundation supported his work with a $400,000 grant through the Faculty Early Career Development Program.

Jacob Sorber

Sorber, an assistant professor in the School of Computing, is doing research that has the potential to transform science and society.

Jacob Sorber

Jacob Sorber

He and his team make embedded systems, mobile sensors, wearable devices, and other small computational things smaller, more efficient, lower-costing, longer-lasting, and easier to deploy.

The National Science Foundation awarded Sorber $500,000 in 2015 through the Faculty Early Career Development Program.

Through the award, he is researching new ways of enabling sensors to gather data for long periods of time. The sensors would be powered by energy from environmental sources, such as the sun, with no need for batteries or manual recharging.

The sensors could, for example, be used to monitor human health, growing conditions in greenhouses or the behavior patterns of animal populations in the wild.

Sorber is proposing a new computing platform, called Mayfly, that will make it easier to develop applications for devices that fail frequently. Mayfly devices will “come alive” for short periods of time, just long enough to finish tasks, such as gathering or sending data.

Sorber is also developing new ways of programming computers to predict when they will crash and save just enough information so that they continue where they left off when power returns.