Peter-Michael Osera Receives $524,611 CAREER Grant from the National Science Foundation

March 12, 2021

Peter-Michael Osera, assistant professor of computer science, recently received a $524,611 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant will support Peter-Michael's project “Foundations and Applications of Constraint-based Synthesis."

Peter-Michael Osera
Peter-Michael Osera

CAREER Awards are the most prestigious and competitive grants the NSF awards to early career faculty. Over the past four years, Grinnell faculty have received three grants from this highly competitive program; Peter-Michael's is the first to be awarded to a computer science faculty member.

Automatically Generating Computer Programs

Peter-Michael's project deals with program synthesis which is an array of techniques used to automatically generate computer programs. Program synthesis has the potential to democratize programming by allowing non-expert users to use relatively simple, natural specifications to generate code. Peter-Michael's project will provide a unifying framework for the wide array of program synthesis techniques that have arisen over the past two decades. This framework will clarify their theoretical underpinning and pave the way for improved, next-generation tools. His work will also address the usability of program synthesis systems by exploring how synthesizers can be designed to work with, rather than replace, developers.

Opportunities for Students

This project will help Peter-Michael further develop his seminar on human-centered programming. He will also focus on “discrete mathematics,” a second-year course in the computer science curriculum that is very challenging for students. In addition, he plans to continue leading national conversations about teaching math in computer science with a focus on inclusive pedagogy. This grant will provide research training opportunities (including domestic or international conference travel) for at least 10 students.

Peter-Michael received his B.S. in computer science and Applied and Computational Math Sciences and B.A. in the Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington in 2006 and received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Peter-Michael's mission is to help people harness the power of computation in its many forms, in particular, through computer programming. He does this by studying problems at the intersection of programming languages and systems, human-computing interaction, and computer science education.

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