University of Utah electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Tsung-Wei Huang has received a one-year $298,814 NSF grant as part of a broader $8 million investment from the National Science Foundation to support and grow sustainable, high-impact open-source projects. Huang had previously received a $488,675 NSF grant to further the development of his novel programming system, Taskflow. With this new NSF grant, he now seeks to explore three different applications of the program.

“Our last grant was more focused on developing the system of Taskflow – things like how we can make the system faster, more reliable, enhance its basic functionality, etc.,” says Huang. “This grant is less on the system side and more on the application side of things. It is intended for us to explore the uses of Taskflow in quantum computing, circuit design automation, and multimedia.”

One initial goal of this grant is to transition Taskflow into a usable, sustainable asset for the scientific quantum computing community.

“We want to use Taskflow to enhance the software support for quantum computing,” says Huang. “There are lots of opportunities in quantum computing, both in NSF and the industry, and we want to design a software system that can make quantum computing technology more easily accessible to the general population.”

Computer graphics or multimedia is the second application being investigated with this grant and involves a new demographic of Taskflow users.

“We have seen lots of people from the gaming/3D computer graphics area using Taskflow to speed up the real-time processing,” says Huang. “When you play a game, you want everything to run smoothly. People are using Taskflow to make the behind-the-scenes processing run very fast.”

The final application this grant seeks to explore deals with circuit design.

“When you are designing a circuit, you are working with many, many complex algorithms,” says Huang. “One major goal in circuit design is to ensure these algorithms can run in parallel, or simultaneously, using different processing units to make the overall processing run faster. Taskflow will help with speeding up that processing.”

On a broader scale, this grant will support the design of a series of developer training programs to engage with potential content contributors for Taskflow. By engaging with potential contributors, Huang hopes to grow Taskflow’s partnership with other open-source scientific computing projects to expand Taskflow’s impacts even further and increase its sustainability.

“We are very open to collaborators. Ultimately, the long-term desired outcome is by reaching more applications, we can understand a pathway to create an ecosystem for Taskflow projects,” says Huang. “Further down the road, we may think about commercializing the product for specific applications too to be able to generate an even larger impact.”

This grant will support three new Ph.D. students to work in Huang’s lab. To learn more about the opportunity or apply, visit Huang’s Lab.