UM Engineering Computes for Tuan Ta

Senior CIS major becomes academic and research success

Tuan Ta at 2015 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research program, Boulder, Colorado

Tuan Ta at 2015 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research program, Boulder, Colorado

As a secondary school student, Tuan Ta sought admission to a research university and financial support to pursue an education in the United States. He found both opportunities through the University of Mississippi School of Engineering.

A graduate of Hanoi-Amsterdam High School, the Vietnamese native first learned of the university through the U.S. News and World Report website, which annually ranks higher education institutions. He found that Ole Miss matched his interests and enrolled in fall 2012.

“Computers and programming have been my favorite interests since secondary school,” Ta said. “I enjoy writing code to solve real problems, and I have always been curious about how computers work, which is what led me to study computer science here.”

Since 2013, he has been involved with the Heterogenous Systems Research Lab, led by Byunghyun Jang, assistant professor of computer and information science. His work in the lab has included designing more efficient coherence protocol for heterogenous CPU-GPU processors and parallelizing and accelerating d-ary heap construction on GPU using OpenCL.

Jang has been Ta’s academic and research advisor during his four years at the university.

“He has taught me how to conduct scientific research, how to think critically and gave valuable advice in my studies,” Ta said. “Without his support, I would not have achieved such success at Ole Miss.”

Jang said that Ta has been one of the best students that he has encountered during his time at UM.

“What impressed me more than his grades was his intellectual capability, thorough understanding of subjects and extraordinary desire for knowledge,” Jang said. “He possesses all the best qualities that college students, engineers and researchers should have to succeed. He is a role model of my research group.”

Jang also noted that Ta is assisting him in writing a National Scientific Foundation proposal and that he has maintained a perfect GPA among all of his research and academic activities.

Ta said his most rewarding experience since enrolling at the university was having his first scientific paper accepted for publication in 2015. The paper, “Accelerating DynEarthSol3D on Tightly Coupled CPU-GPU Heterogeneous Processors,” was published in the Computers & Geosciences Journal last June. Ta also presented a poster at the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium in 2015.

Last summer, Ta interned with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked in the Computational and Informational Systems Lab. His main responsibilities were optimizing scientific modeling programs and analyzing the efficiency of new processors in their supercomputer.

“I acquired a lot of technical skills in programming, code optimization and computer architecture, among others,” he said. “I had a special opportunity to master teamwork skills through daily collaboration with my mentors and other interns.”

Having maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his UM enrollment, Ta has received numerous academic awards, including the Outstanding Computer Science Student Award (during his sophomore and junior years) and the Computer and Information Science SAP Scholarship Award.

Ta was the recipient of a Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic honor, and an Adler Engineering Scholarship. He has also served as vice president of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon computer science honorary society, treasurer and vice president of the Ole Miss Badminton Club. He has volunteered with the Vietnam Book Drive Initiative.