Dominik Kempa Earns 2024 NSF CAREER Award

Dominik Kempa, a professor in Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science, has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award for 2024.

His project, “Scalable and Flexible Indexing of Compressed Sequences,” is supported by $600K in CAREER funding from the NSF.

“In 2022, Dominik was named a ‘rising star in combinatorial pattern matching’ in Communications of the ACM. This NSF CAREER award further solidifies his position in the field,” said Department of Computer Science Chair Samir Das.

The last two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the amount of datasets consisting of text. Some of these datasets already reach the scale of petabytes and are predicted to grow further. A unique characteristic of this data is that it is often highly repetitive, and hence very compressible. Data compression alone, however, is not sufficient in many applications, since the data in compressed form cannot be accessed or searched without first decompressing it.

The field of compressed indexing aims to address this challenge by designing data structures that can store highly compressible string collections using space close to the size of the data in compressed form, while simultaneously supporting various queries (such as pattern matching) on the underlying uncompressed sequence. Although this research area has already led to improvements in the ability to store and search large string collections, most of the work has concentrated on designing static compressed indexes, with much less attention paid to other aspects, such as efficient index construction or support for updates.

Kempa’s CAREER research seeks to fully unlock the potential of compressed indexing by designing efficient algorithms for constructing compressed indexes, developing dynamic compressed indexes, and exploring lower bounds for compressed data structures and providing valuable insights for future research.

Read more about Kempa’s research at the Computer Science website.

Before joining Stony Brook University in 2021, Kempa held postdoctoral positions at Johns Hopkins University, UC Berkeley and the University of Warwick. He earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

NSF CAREER Awards support early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. It is among the NSF’s most prestigious national honors and a major milestone for university faculty.

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