A Binghamton University computer science professor has received a grant from the National Science Foundation for his programming models for green software.

Professor Yu David Liu received a five-year $448,641 grant from the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program. The grants support faculty who demonstrate the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Liu’s research pertains to energy-efficient software. In his award abstract, Liu states that “energy efficiency is a critical goal for modern computing.”

The project explores how innovations in programming models can contribute to energy-efficient computing.

According to his abstract, the outcome of the project includes the design of an energy-aware language and a compiler, a computer program that transforms code, with features for energy reduction and certification.

“The project also brings the awareness of energy efficiency into computer programming classes,” Liu wrote in his abstract. “It fosters next-generation green-conscious programmers, the contributors of a more sustainable society.”

Liu designs programming languages.

“The artifacts we produce are usually new programming languages implemented in the form of compilers,” he said. “This project centers around the design and implementation of an energy-aware programming language.”

Christina Johnson, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law and member of Binghamton University Sierra Student Coalition, an environmental advocacy group, said the move to green programming is important.

“Since the ‘green’ movement has began, new inventions and methods have changed the way we as a people interact with each other and the earth,” Johnson said. “Green Computing is a sure sign that collectively brilliant minds are being rewarded for their contributions toward protecting the environment.”

Liu described programming languages as interfaces between human programmers and the machines they program.

“It is our hope that a next-generation language with enriched energy-related idioms can both encourage programmers to construct green software and facilitate energy-efficient optimizations on computing platforms,” he said.

According to Liu, the software that will result from his research will be placed online for download, but is currently in its compiler construction stage.

“Saving energy is a critical goal for modern computing,” he said. “This is perhaps even more so as we look forward, as computers in all forms are more pervasively present in our lives.”

Liu thinks the industry is more receptive to ideas that are effective yet simple, goals his prototyped compiler is striving for.

Liu recently received the Google Faculty Research Award of $50,000 for his energy-efficient programming and compilation targeted to Google-specific programs such as Android phones and the Google App Engine.