Ian Foster (computer scientist)

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Ian Foster
Born (1959-01-01) 1 January 1959 (age 65)
Wellington, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisParlog as a systems programming language (1988)
Doctoral advisorKeith Clark

Ian Tremere Foster (born 1 January 1959) is a New Zealand-American computer scientist. He is a distinguished fellow, senior scientist, and director of the Data Science and Learning division at Argonne National Laboratory, and a professor in the department of computer science at the University of Chicago.[2][3]

Education and career[edit]

Foster was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1959. He was educated at Wellington College and the University of Canterbury, followed by the Department of Computing, Imperial College London.

From 2006 to 2016, he was director of the Computation Institute (CI), a joint project between the University of Chicago, and Argonne National Laboratory.[4] CI brings together computational scientists and discipline leaders to work on projects with computation as a key component.

He is currently Director of the Data Science and Learning Division at Argonne National Laboratory, a unit established to tackle advanced scientific problems where data analysis and artificial intelligence can provide critical insights and accelerate discovery.


Foster's honours include the Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing (2001),[5] the Lovelace Medal of the British Computer Society (2002),[6] an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Canterbury in 2005,[7] the IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award (2011),[8] the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award,[9] (with Carl Kesselman) the IEEE Computer Society Harry H Goode Memorial Award (2020),[10] the IEEE Internet Award (2023),[a][11] and the ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award (2022).[12] He was elected Fellow of the British Computer Society in 2001, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003,[13] and in 2009, a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery,[14] who named him the inaugural recipient of the high-performance parallel and distributed computing (HPDC) achievement award in 2012.[15][16] In 2017, he was recognised with the Euro-Par Achievement Award.[17]


Foster's research focuses on the acceleration of discovery in a network using distributed computing. With Carl Kesselman and Steve Tuecke, Foster coined the term grid computing: techniques for data-intensive, multi-institution collaboration that paved the way for cloud computing. Methods and software developed under his leadership advanced discovery in areas as high energy physics, environmental science, and biomedicine.

For example, grid computing was credited by CERN director Rolf-Dieter Heuer as one of the elements essential for the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson.[18]

His research has also resulted in the development of techniques, tools and algorithms for high-performance distributed computing and parallel computing. His Globus Toolkit project encouraged collaborative computing for engineering, business and other fields. In March 2004, Foster co-founded Univa Corporation to commercialize the technology.[19]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alongside Carl Kesselman; the citation reads: "For contributions to the design, deployment, and application of practical Internet-scale global computing platforms.[11]


  1. ^ Foster, I. (2001). "The Anatomy of the Grid: Enabling Scalable Virtual Organizations". International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications. 15 (3): 200–222. arXiv:cs/0103025. Bibcode:2001cs........3025F. doi:10.1177/109434200101500302. S2CID 28969310.
  2. ^ Foster, I.; Kesselman, C. (1997). "Globus: A Metacomputing Infrastructure Toolkit". International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications. 11 (2): 115. CiteSeerX doi:10.1177/109434209701100205. S2CID 438757.
  3. ^ Qiu, J.; Foster, I.; Goble, C. (2014). "Emerging Computational Methods for the Life Sciences Workshop 2012". Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience. 26 (6): 1231. doi:10.1002/cpe.3101. S2CID 26141575.
  4. ^ "Ian Foster appointed to third term as director of Computation Institute". University of Chicago. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Researchers Win Gordon Bell Prize for 2001". Argonne National Laboratory. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Ian Foster to receive 2002 Lovelace Medal from British Computer Society". University of Chicago. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Hon doc – Professor Ian Foster". University of Canterbury. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Ian T. Foster". IEEE Computer Society. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Ian Foster Named Recipient of 2019 IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award". IEEE Computer Society. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Dr. Ian Foster and Dr. Carl Kesselman to Receive 2020 IEEE Computer Society Harry H. Goode Memorial Award". IEEE Computer Society. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  11. ^ a b "IEEE Internet Award" (PDF). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Ian Foster Recognized with ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award".
  13. ^ Steve Koppes (6 November 2003). "Nine on faculty elected 2003 AAAS fellows". University of Chicago Chronicle. Vol. 78, no. 4.
  14. ^ "Argonne's Ian Foster named Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery". Argonne National Laboratory. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Achievement Award". HPDC 2012 web site. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  16. ^ Ian Foster (22 June 2012). "20 years of grid computing" (PDF). HPDC 2012 award talk. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  17. ^ "The Euro-Par Achievement Award". Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Strong hints of the Higgs – live from CERN". Gridcast blog. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Form D: Notice of Sale of Securities" (PDF). US Securities and Exchange Commission. 25 August 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2020.

External links[edit]