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On Cloud Nine

Computer scientist Mira Mezini receives 2.3 million-Euro ERC Advanced Grant

TU Darmstadt computer-science professor Mira Mezini has been honored with the European Union’s best-endowed research award, an “Advanced Grant” of 2.3 million Euros conferred by the European Research Council (ERC). She intends to use the funding for basic research into the programming of software that will be fit for the “cloud.”

Prof. Dr. Mira Mezini, Leiterin des Fachgebiets Softwaretechnik an der TU Darmstadt. Bild: Miguel Hahn
Prof. Mira Mezini receives an ERC Advanced Grant. Image: Miguel Hahn

The European Union’s ERC grants, which were inaugurated in 2007, are both research grants and prizes honoring distinguished research. Approvals of applications for ERC grants are based on applicants’ reputations for excellence and the qualities of their proposed projects, with equal weight given to each factor. Grantees receive extensive funding for pioneering basic-research projects in their chosen fields.

Prof. Mezini intends to use the 2.3-million-Euro grant for researching fundamentally novel programming concepts that will be up to meeting the challenges posed by the new realities of “cloud computing.”

She explained that, “Dealing with the cloud’s, in principle, unlimited computing power and data-storage capacity, along with the vision of software that will be residing there and available in the form of a jointly used service that will, nevertheless, be customizable to suit the individual needs of numerous users, confronts the field of software programming with totally new challenges. For example, in order to be able to model and process the large quantities of data and numbers of events involved and their interrelations we will need totally new software-program¬ming mechanisms and architectures. Otherwise, the complexities of the software systems involved and their development and maintenance will become unmanageable, which will have highly adverse consequences for their stabilities and susceptibilities to errors and security loopholes.”

In conjunction with her “Programming Abstractions for Applica-tions in Cloud Environments” (PACE) project, Mezini will expand her research group by adding a seven-member team that will both work out the theoretical bases involved and formulate and evaluate prototypes of the new programming concepts developed.

Expert for software development and programming languages

Prof. Dr. Mira Mezini, Leiterin des Fachgebiets Softwaretechnik an der TU Darmstadt. Bild: Mira Mezini
Mira Mezini heads the Software-Technology Department at the TU Darmstadt since 2000. Image: Miguel Hahn

Mira Mezini, who turned 45 this year, studied computer science at the University of Tirana, Albania, and received her doctorate from the University of Siegen, Germany, in 1997. Following a three-year sojourn at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, she has been researching and teaching at the TU Darmstadt, where she heads the Software-Technology Dept, since 2000. She is also a member of the directorate and dean of the graduate school at the Center for Advanced Security Research (CASED), Darmstadt, as well as a member of the directorate of the European Center for Security and Privacy by Design at the TU Darmstadt.

Her research topics include programming languages, intelligent software-development environments, modular software architec¬tures, and software security. She was recipient of the IBM Eclipse Innovation Award in 2005 and 2006. Her receipt of an ERC Advanced Grant, which makes her the first, female, German, computer scientist to be awarded one of those prestigious awards, elevates her to the ranks of the research elite in her chosen field. Only three other German computer scientists before her have received an ERC Advanced Grant. ERC Advanced Grants are, at the European level, compar¬able to the renowned Leibniz Prize of the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the best-endowed German research grant.

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