Logo: University of Southern California

Timothy Pinkston: Insights from the NSF

May 23, 2007 —

He’s been on loan to the National Science Foundation for a year and a half, influencing policy and funding decisions in computer science and engineering at the national level. When he returns to USC’s Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering in 2008, Prof. Timothy M. Pinkston will have some important new insights to share with his colleagues about compelling research directions in the field of computer systems architecture.

Timothy Pinkston

"This is a terrific opportunity to identify major challenges and set a national research and education agenda that will keep our nation on the cutting edge of computational needs for society,” said Pinkston, who is currently based in Washington, D.C.  “This is a critical time for computer system architecture research.  Many experts agree that we're approaching the end of the prolific 'Moore's Law' era in computing.  In order to continue the greater than 40 percent per year computational performance growth rates we've come to expect, a paradigm shift must occur toward highly parallel--yet low power consumption--computer systems.”

Although Pinkston’s research group and other groups at USC are addressing that issue in their own individual research projects, he’s “delighted to be in a position to impact research efforts more broadly, on a national stage, to advance the state of computing during my tenure here at NSF."

The National Science Foundation plays a major role in sponsoring research activities in the U.S., providing more than 85 percent of the federal funding directed toward basic research in the computer sciences at U.S. academic institutions. Pinkston serves as a program director in the Division of Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF), one of three divisions in the Computer and Information Science & Engineering Directorate, which has a fiscal year 2007 budget of $526.69 million. He also has served as the lead program director for CCF’s Foundations of Computing Processes and Artifacts cluster. 

Before  joining NSF, Pinkston served as the director of the Computer Engineering Division in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering from 2003-2005, and was chair of the Viterbi School’s Engineering Faculty Council from 2004-2005.