Ian Foster

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Ian T. Foster
Born (1959-01-01) January 1, 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceChicago, IL, USA
NationalityNew Zealand
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisParlog as a systems programming language (1988)
Doctoral advisorKeith Clark

Ian T. Foster (born 1959 in Wellington, New Zealand) 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][4]

Education and career[edit]

Foster was educated at Wellington College and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and 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.[5] CI brings together computational scientists and discipline leaders to work on projects with computation as a key component.

Foster's honors include the Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing (2001), the Lovelace Medal of the British Computer Society (2002), the IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award (2011), and the IEEE Charles Babbage Award (2019). He was elected Fellow of the British Computer Society in 2001, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003, and in 2009, a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, who named him the inaugural recipient of the high-performance parallel and distributed computing (HPDC) achievement award in 2012.[6][7] In 2017, he was recognized with the Euro-Par Achievement Award.[8]


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.[9]

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.[10]



  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. doi:10.1177/109434200101500302.
  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.
  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.
  4. ^ Ian Foster publications indexed by Google Scholar
  5. ^ "Computation Institute People". Archived from the original on October 10, 2006. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  6. ^ "Achievement Award". HPDC 2012 web site. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Ian Foster (June 22, 2012). "20 years of grid computing" (PDF). HPDC 2012 award talk. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  8. ^ "The Euro-Par Achievement Award". Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Strong hints of the Higgs - live from CERN". Gridcast blog. July 4, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "Form D: Notice of Sale of Securities" (PDF). US Securities and Exchange Commission. August 25, 2005. Retrieved December 21, 2016.