Brandenburg receives national honors for dissertation research

Bjorn Brandenburg

For the second consecutive year, a UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral alumnus has received the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards focused on doctoral dissertations.

Björn B. Brandenburg, a 2011 UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral graduate in computer science, received the award for his dissertation, titled “Scheduling and Locking in Multiprocessor Real-Time Operating Systems.”

The award, presented since 1982, annually recognizes two recent doctoral recipients who have already made unusually significant and original contributions to their fields. Brandenburg received his award in the category of mathematics, physical sciences and engineering.

Last year’s recipient in the category of biological and life sciences, doctoral graduate Nate Sowa, was the first UNC-Chapel Hill student to ever receive the CGS/ProQuest honor.

“Björn has a remarkable career ahead of him, as his exceptional dissertation research demonstrates,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School Dean Steve Matson, PhD. “I commend him for his accomplishment and for the many ways his research is strongly contributing to the software industry.

“For UNC-Chapel Hill to be represented in this prestigious award in back-to-back years speaks to a vibrant graduate education community at UNC-Chapel Hill that truly supports student excellence.”

Brandenburg, a native of Berlin, is a tenure-track faculty member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he is head of the institute’s Real-Time Systems Group.

His dissertation research addresses real-time and embedded systems that individuals use on an everyday basis, as in cars and computers, often without the awareness that these systems exist. His dissertation addresses questions key to resource allocation for real-time operating systems (RTOSs), a project that allowed Brandenburg to develop a new multicore RTOS called the Linux Testbed for Multiprocessor Scheduling in Real-Time Systems, or LITMUSRT.

Brandenburg received “best student paper” honors at the 2010 Real-Time Systems Symposium, viewed as the most prestigious conference on real-time systems. He also received “best paper” honors at the 2011 International Conference on Embedded Software.

“Björn’s dissertation is a monumental piece of work,” said James Anderson, PhD, Brandenburg’s doctoral adviser. “It is filled with novel results that render large portions of existing real-time systems textbooks obsolete. In carrying out his research agenda, Björn was incredibly thorough. His dissertation is over 600 pages, and his experiments resulted in 100,000 graphs of performance data. This degree of thoroughness is so typical of Björn.”

Brandenburg received his undergraduate education in computer science from Technische Universität Berlin; he received his master of science and doctoral degrees in computer science from UNC-Chapel Hill. While at UNC-Chapel Hill, he was supported in part by the German-American Fulbright Program and a Dissertation Completion Research Fellowship (awarded by The Graduate School).

He was a 2012 recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award, an award program honoring Linda Dykstra, PhD, former Graduate School dean. This honor, presented annually at the University’s Graduate Student Recognition Celebration, is designed to recognize the highest level of graduate student scholarship. Each year, The Graduate School dean can submit two of the UNC-Chapel Hill award recipients for the national competition recognizing dissertation excellence. Matson had submitted Brandenburg’s dissertation into this competition.

The Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation awardees received a certificate, a $2,000 honorarium and travel to the awards ceremony, held Dec. 6, 2012, as a part of the CGS’s 52nd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Junjie Chen, a 2011 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign doctoral graduate in anthropology, received the 2012 award in the category of social sciences.

The Council of Graduate Schools includes more than 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research and preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. ProQuest provides electronic and microform information products and services to academic, school, public, corporate and government libraries worldwide.