Kenneth Kent - 2016 University Research Scholar

Dr. Kenneth Kent obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Victoria in 2003, his M.Sc. from the same in 1999, and his B.Sc. from Memorial University in 1996. Dr. Kent joined the Faculty of Computer Science in 2002 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006, granted tenure in 2008, and promoted to the rank of Professor in 2011. Dr. Kent's research interests include hardware/software co-design, reconfigurable computing, embedded systems, and software engmeenng.

Dr. Kent has completed significant research on Java virtual machine technology, including the use of distributed  computing and dedicated hardware to accelerate Java execution-the basis of his MSc and PhD theses respectively. Upon joining UNB, he has continued working in the areas of field programmable gate arrays and virtual machine technology, both with the goal of improving execution  for faster times, lower memory usage and lower power consumption .

Dr. Kent's work in virtual machine technology has led to a substantial collaboration with IBM in the development of their J9 Java Virtual machine-the underlying technology that supports the vast majority of IBM commercial software products. Through a $5M AIF project, Dr. Kent leads a team of approximately 30 graduate students and research assistants in tackling research challenges facing IBM. This project is the foundation of the creation of the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies-Atlantic (CASA), one of 5 such Centres in Canada and the first in Atlantic Canada. Within the four years that this project has been running, Dr. Kent, Director of CASA, has been a co-inventor on seven disclosures that have been submitted to the IBM technical Intellectual Property Team. The CASA team at UNB has played an integral part in researching and investigating leading edge techniques in Java execution and much of their work has been integrated into the IBM's J9 product , which is the foundation for IBM's software infrastructure.

In the area of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), Dr. Kent is the lead researcher of Odin-ll­ a Verilog elaboration tool used in computer-aided design (CAD) research for FPGAs. This tool is part of the VTR software suite developed in conjunction with the University of Toronto, the University of Miami-Ohio, and the University of British Columbia. With over 10,000 downloads, many researchers and industries (including Texas Instruments, Xilinx , Altera, MIT, UC Berkeley, Stanford) use this toolset for developing new FPGA and circuit architectures as well as CAD algorithms. This research is supported by the CFI/NBIF-Embedded Systems Canada award , and the most recently awarded CFI/NBIF-Platform for Advanced Design Leading to Manufacturing in Micro-Nano Technologies, where Dr. Kent is the UNB lead.

Since his arrival , Dr. Kent has maintained a high level of collaboration with industry. He has collaborated with over 20 companies on numerous !RAP-funded interactions, 16 Mitacs Accelerate internships, 6 NSERC Engage grants, 6 NBIF Research Assistantship Initiatives and one NBIF Research Technician Initiative. In addition, Dr. Kent has maintained an NSERC Discovery grant since 2004, having received over $250K to date. In total, he has led projects with over $7M in funding awarded towards his research activities since arriving at UNB.

Over the course of his  13 years at UNB Dr. Kent has supervised 33 graduate students to completion and  is currently supervising 7 PhD and 12 MCS students. Along the way, this has led to the publication of over 70 refereed conference papers,  16 journal  articles and 1 best paper award.  In addition to his numerous research accomplishments, he has also excelled as a teacher, having received the 2010 Faculty of Computer Science Excellence in Teaching Award .

Dr. Kent is heavily involved in the research community through journal editing, conference organization, grant adjudication, and scientific refereeing, including being a member of the NSERC Strategic Grant Information and Communication Technology selection panel. He has served as general chair, program chair, steering committee member and program committee member for numerous conferences in his areas of expertise.