National Science Foundation Awards $400,000 Grant in Computer Science to Jeannie Albrecht at Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Sept. 3, 2009 — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a five-year grant for $400,000 to Williams College for research on managing distributed applications on mobile computing platforms composed of cell phones, vehicles, and embedded sensors. Jeannie Albrecht, assistant professor of computer science, will direct the project, which is funded as a part of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, one of the most prestigious awards the NSF grants to young scholars that effectively integrate research into their teaching.

The project, titled “Mobile Application Management,” will address issues with using mobile computing environments. Application management frameworks have previously helped software developers address challenges in conventional, wired Internet settings, but no such framework exists to tackle the unique challenges of mobile networks. Seemingly simple tasks such as configuring devices, starting executions, and tracking errors become complicated in a world of on-the-go Internet connectivity.

Albrecht plans to investigate these complications. She aims to develop techniques that utilize the predictable patterns of human interaction to increase the stability of mobile applications, and integrate the techniques into a software toolkit for mobile application management. The results of her work will benefit a range of students, researchers, and developers. In particular, undergraduates at small colleges with little prior exposure to systems development will be able to experience the technological richness of large research institutions while gaining valuable hands-on experience with emerging mobile computing systems.

Albrecht has recently worked with other faculty from large research universities on prototypes to expand the security, manageability, and versatility of networking systems, as part of the Global Environment for Network Innovations, a nationwide NSF initiative funded by BBN Technologies to support research in Network Science and Engineering. She received her B.S. from Gettysburg College, her M.S. from Duke University, and her Ph.D. from the University of California-San Diego.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.

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