Prof. Vikram Sadanand Adve
B. Tech., 1987 Electrical Engineering

Prof. Vikram S. Adve is the Donald B. Gillies Professor of Computer Science; Professor of Electrical Engineering; Co-Director, Centre for Digital Agriculture; and Director of the AIFARMS National AI Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his B.Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1987, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989 and 1993 respectively.

After completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Prof. Adve joined Rice University as a Research Scientist in Ken Kennedy’s group, working on performance tools and compilers for parallel computing. His main research contribution was to develop a novel compiler system called dHPF for compiling High Performance Fortran (HPF) to distributed memory machines running MPI, which was one of the earliest uses of polyhedral compiler design techniques for a realistic language and compiler.

In 1999, Prof. Adve joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science. His main area of research is the design of novel compiler systems and using them for a variety of systems problems, including programmability, performance, security, and reliability. He co-developed the LLVM (low-level virtual machine) Compiler Infrastructure, with a Ph.D. student which has seen widespread use in industry and academia.

LLVM is widely used in industry to develop software products today, including applications for nearly all Apple and Android systems, Google’s machine learning tools, as well as many supercomputers, game engine consoles, and others. The design novelty in LLVM enables nearly all software applications for Apple’s mobile and wearable computing devices to be shipped from app developers to the Apple Store and then customized for individual devices, enabling better software portability, security, and performance. LLVM also powers many other major industrial products, including machine learning tools from Google. More recently, he developed the Heterogeneous Parallel Virtual Machine (HPVM) project that addresses the programmability, portability, and performance of heterogeneous parallel systems, which are used widely for edge computing.

He co-founded and co-leads the Centre for Digital Agriculture at the University of Illinois, bringing together faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture to collaborate on applications of computing technologies in sustainable agriculture. This is critical because agriculture, over the next 30 years, must increase aggregate food production by 70% under unforgiving constraints of a shrinking agricultural labour force, less arable land, severe impacts of climate change, and a critical need to avoid environmental harm. He is also the Project Director of AIFARMS, a USDA-funded national AI Institute, that is advancing techniques and uses of artificial intelligence for tackling these difficult agricultural challenges.

Prof. Adve has received several awards and recognitions over the years including the Donald B. Gillies Professorship, Computer Science Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2018); University Scholar, University of Illinois System (2015); Fellow of the ACM (2014): “For developing the LLVM compiler and for contributions to parallel computing and software security,” Most Influential Paper (2014): for CGO 2004 paper on the LLVM Compiler System; ACM Software System Award (2012): ): “For designing and implementing LLVM …,” and List of Teachers ranked as ‘Excellent’ by their students (8 times).

“Cooking, running, listening to audiobooks, watching soccer (past), photography (distant past!).”

Special Memories

“Some of my most vivid memories are of extracurricular activities at IIT Bombay. I was on the Hostel 7 TT, volleyball, and cricket teams, and I was the hostel Sports Secretary the year we won the campus inter-hostel sports trophy. I also won a couple of inter-hostel cultural competitions. But the most enduring memories are of meeting and spending many, many hours with my future wife, Sarita Adve. We spent countless hours studying together in H10, walking around campus late at night after H10’s nightly 11 pm male curfew, and doing the TOI crossword puzzles together, sometimes even in class!”