Ian Foster

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This article is about the computer scientist. For the football manager, see Ian Foster (footballer). For the rugby coach, see Ian Foster (rugby).
Ian T. Foster
Born 1959 (age 55–56)
New Zealand
Residence Chicago, IL, USA
Nationality New Zealand
Alma mater
Thesis Parlog as a systems programming language (1988)
Doctoral advisor Keith Clark
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards

Ian T. Foster (born 1959 in Wellington, New Zealand). He is a New Zealand-American computer scientist and the Director of the Computation Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Scientist in the Mathematics and Computer Science 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.

In 2006, he was appointed director of the Computation Institute, a joint project between the University of Chicago, and Argonne. There, Foster brings together computational scientists and discipline thought leaders to work on a wide range of projects with computation as a key component. CI research efforts include the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy, which combines the best of modern computational and economic science to guide climate and energy policy, and the Urban Center for Computation and Data, which seeks to optimize the operation of cities and anticipate the impact of their growth using computational methods and tools.

Foster's honors include the Lovelace Medal of the British Computer Society, the Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing (2001), and the IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award (2011). 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.


Foster's research focuses on the acceleration of discovery in a networked world. With Carl Kesselman and Steve Tuecke, Foster invented grid computing, the de facto computation standard for data-intensive, multi-institution collaboration that paved the way for cloud computing. Methods and software developed under his leadership underpin many large national and international cyberinfrastructures and have advanced discovery in such areas as high energy physics, environmental science, and biomedicine. Grid computing was credited by CERN director Rolf-Dieter Heuer as one of the elements essential for the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson.[5]

His research has also resulted in the development of techniques, tools and algorithms for high-performance distributed computing and parallel computing. His Globus Project encourages collaborative computing by providing advances necessary for engineering, business and other fields. His most recent effort, Globus Online, is a cloud-based service that transforms how researchers manage, share and analyze big data. In 2004, Foster co-founded Univa Corporation to bring advances in grid and distributed computing to commercial applications.


  1. ^ Foster, I. (2001). "The Anatomy of the Grid: Enabling Scalable Virtual Organizations". International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications 15 (3): 200. 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. 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's publications indexed by Google Scholar, a service provided by Google
  5. ^ http://gridtalk-project.blogspot.com/2012/07/strong-hints-of-higgs-live-from-cern.html