Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Barzan Mozafari Named Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professor

photo of Prof. Barzan Mozafari

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Professor Barzan Mozafari, assistant professor in Computer Science and Engineering, has been named a Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professor.

Prof. Mozafari is passionate about building large-scale data-intensive systems that are more scalable, more robust, and more predictable, with a particular interest in database-as-a-service clouds, distributed systems, and crowdsourcing. In his research, he draws on advanced mathematical models to deliver practical database solutions, adapting concepts and tools from applied statistics, complexity theory, automata theory, and machine learning.

In his research career, he has led many successful open-source projects, including CliffGuard (the first robust framework for automated database tuning), DBSeer (the first tool for automated database diagnosis), and BlinkDB (the first massively parallel approximate query engine). He has won the National Science Foundation CAREER award, as well as several best paper awards in ACM SIGMOD and EuroSys. He is also a co-founder of DBSeer and a strategic advisor to SnappyData, a company that has commercialized the ideas introduced by BlinkDB. 

Beyond the academic world, Prof. Mozafari's research has had tremendous impact on database industry. Most recently, the VATS (Variance-Aware Transaction Scheduling) algorithm in his research lab was adopted by MySQL community (the most popular open-source database) and chosen as the default scheduling algorithm in MariaDB (a widely-used database with over 2M installations around the world). 

Prof. Mozafari is also a co-PI of the Center for Data-Driven Computational Physics, where he oversees the implementation and management of ConFlux, a new computing resource which enables supercomputer simulations to interface with machine learning algorithms running on massive datasets. In 2015, the National Science Foundation provided $2.42 million for ConFlux and the university provided an additional $1.04 million.

Prof. Mozafari has also been active in outreach activities, and served as a co-PI for the Big Data Summer Bootcamp, a six-week interdisciplinary training and research program at Michigan. The camp was co-designed by Prof. Mozafari and his collaborators from other departments as a means of introducing undergraduate students to the growing number of approaches to big data.

Prof. Mozafari received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California Los Angeles in 2011. He joined the faculty of CSE at the University of Michigan in 2013 after two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the CSAIL Lab. Prof. Mozafari has won several awards and fellowships, including an NSF CAREER Award and Best Paper Awards at SIGMOD 2012 and EuroSys 2013. He is affiliated with the Database Research Group and the Software Systems Lab in CSE and the Center for Data-Driven Computational Physics at the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).

About the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship

Michael P. Wellman, the Lynn A. Conway Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, endowed the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship in his grandfather's name. Morris Wellman was an engineer who worked for most of his career as a civil servant of the City of New York. The professorship is awarded to junior faculty members in recognition of outstanding contributions to teaching and research.

Posted: February 27, 2017