Daniel Abadi named Darnell-Kanal Professor of Computer Science

Daniel Abadi, a world-renowned expert in databases, is set to join the Department of Computer Science in July of 2017 as the Darnell-Kanal Professor of Computer Science. The professorship was established by Mr. Christopher Darnell, to honor Emeritus Professor of computer science,  Laveen Kanal.

"We are delighted to welcome Daniel as the Darnell-Kanal Professor,” said Samir Khuller, the Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Chair of Computer Science. “He is a world leader in the area of databases and high volume transaction processing, and Maryland is rather fortunate to land him. Daniel also has an interest in commercializing his research, and we look forward to the major impact his work will have here, especially as we get ready to occupy the Iribe Center in 2018.”

Abadi currently serves as an associate professor of computer science at Yale University.  His research specifically involves database system architecture and implementation, particularly at the intersection with scalable and distributed systems.  Before joining Yale’s faculty, he earned his doctorate in Computer Science in 2008 from MIT.

He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships including a Churchill Scholarship, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and the 2013 Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) Early Career Researcher Award.  He is the recipient of a VLDB  Best Paper Award, and has been recognized for the impact of his work with a VLDB 10-year Best Paper Award.  In 2008, he was awarded the SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation award.  Abadi’s teaching has also been celebrated with the Yale Provost’s Teaching Prize.

“Daniel's scholarship, dedication to students, and focus on innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship will bring new ideas and strengths to the Department of Computer Science,” said Jayanth Banavar, dean of the UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “We are excited to welcome such a talented faculty member to Maryland.”

When asked about reasons that compelled him to join the faculty at University of Maryland, Abadi mentioned that he was impressed by the number of professors and the diversity of fields that they research. “One of the appeals of the University of Maryland is that it is a large department and very vibrant,” he said. “There are so many research projects going on here.” Abadi mentioned that he particularly looks forward to working with his fellow database researchers, Professor Amol Deshpande and Professor Nick Roussopoulos. “There are also many great faculty at Maryland outside of the field of databases,” he mentioned, “and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

In addition to his research with a post-doc and graduate students, Abadi will be teaching a graduate course in the fall.  He remarked that he looks forward to teaching a diverse set of undergraduates and graduate students in the coming years.

As the Darnell-Kanal Professor of Computer Science, Abadi will honor the working relationship of Emeritus Professor Laveen Kanal and Mr. Christopher Darnell, Director at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. LLC and GMO Trust - GMO Benchmark-Free Allocation Fund.  Mr. Darnell established the professorship “in gratitude for the warm reception and intellectual support afforded by Professor Laveen Kanal more than twenty years ago." Mr. Darnell attributes the foundation of his very successful career in financial management to an informative meeting with Professor Kanal in which they discussed Kanal’s research in pattern recognition.  Abadi praised the collaborative relationship that these men developed and work they did to transition substantive research into the outside world. 

“My name will be linked to Professor Kanal’s moving forward for the foreseeable future—as well as Chris Darnell’s—and think that in general, this particular combination of the Darnell-Kanal Chair is a very good fit for what I am all about,” said Abadi.  “One of my philosophies of doing research is that it is important to write papers, but it is also important to not stop there and to engage in the tech transfer process and bring [the work] out into the real world.”

Finally, Abadi mentioned that he is looking forward to spending time in the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation. “I’m excited about the new building and am impressed with the support from Maryland alumni,” he said.

Learn more about Professor Abadi's latest research here.

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