Colorado State University Professor Obtains $400,000 NSF Award to Improve Sensor Data Processing, Educate Middle School Students

Note to Reporters: A photo of Shrideep Pallickara is available with the news release at

A Colorado State University computer science professor has received a $400,000 National Science Foundation Early CAREER award to make computer systems more efficient.

Shrideep Pallickara, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, will use the grant to explore robust processing of data streams in real time. These data streams are generated by everything from electronic health monitoring devices in hospitals to chemical sensors associated with bioterrorism.

“Health care and homeland security can benefit from this research, as well as experimental science,” said Darrell Whitley, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “We are proud of Shrideep’s success and know his students will benefit from his enthusiasm for teaching as well as innovation.”

Skyrocketing health care costs have coincided with the rapid increase of electronic monitoring devices in medical and assisted living environments. These monitors generate streams of patient data. Timely monitoring and analysis can detect emergencies early and improve patient outcomes, but failure can be fatal. Pallickara researches techniques that will improve the efficiency and robustness of automated medical data stream processing, which will translate to lower costs and improved outcomes.

To quickly and accurately evaluate homeland security threats, chemical and biological sensor data must be processed in real time. Open-source software produced as part of Pallickara’s research – which can be configured over an arbitrary number of machines to process a large number of streams in a variety of settings – lowers entry barriers for scientists who need to process observational data in their applications.

The project will also provide educational opportunities for students, and middle school outreach activities are targeted at improving assimilation of mathematical concepts among Native American students. The grant will allow eight students from Cortez Middle School to travel to Colorado State this summer to study math concepts during an annual summer camp. Pallickara will also work with the students throughout the school year.

At CSU, Pallickara is known for his enthusiastic teaching style. He was rewarded this spring with the Department of Computer Science’s first Effective and Innovative Teaching Award.