Logo: University of Southern California

Newest Viterbi CAREER Grant Winner Studies Epidemics in the Broadest Senses

Computer scientist will use NSF funding to Model Spread of Contagious Programs, Pathogens, and even Ideas

December 13, 2005 —

Kempe: CAREER awardee is algorithm researcher and programming team coach.
David Kempe has joined the distinguished circle of Viterbi School faculty who have received NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards.

The highly competitive grants are given “in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.”  

Kempe’s $400,000 award will underwrite five years of research on modeling epidemics in networks.
“Epidemic phenomena in networks occur when an infectious disease, computer virus, behavior, piece of information, or innovation is disseminated in a highly decentralized and parallel way along the links of a social or computer network. Epidemic phenomena often have a strong effect on society,” Kemp’s abstract notes.

“Given the increasingly detailed data available about social and computer networks, it is becoming feasible to model such epidemic phenomena accurately, and to address algorithmically the problems of minimizing or maximizing the spread of an epidemic in a network.”

Kempe, along CS colleague Sven Koenig, is one of the organizers of the USC Programming Contest, an ongoing effort to identify and support programming talent for competition in ACM contests.

Prior to coming to USC in 2004, the assistant professor was a postdoctorate at the University of Washington. He received his Ph.D. in 2003 from Cornell University.