Lara Dolecek, a UCLA assistant professor of electrical engineering, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation.

The NSF CAREER award is the organization’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
The award funds Dolecek’s research on improving the storage and processing of massive amounts of data by fundamentally rethinking the underlying data reliability metrics. This paradigm shift will be made possible through the creation of new channel coding methodologies that embrace, rather than ignore, the physical properties of the emerging data systems. This new class of channel coding schemes could bring dramatic improvements in performance and capabilities of forthcoming storage systems, and could substantially reduce the galloping cost of data storage.

Dolecek is the director of the Laboratory for Robust Information Systems. Her research interests span information and coding theory, graphical models, combinatorics, statistical algorithms and computational methods with applications to high-performance complex systems for data processing, communication, and storage. Dolecek is a 2011 Hellman Fellow and a principal investigator on several research projects funded by government and leading data storage companies. She is also is a faculty co-founder of the Los Angeles Computing Circle (LACC), a K-12 outreach program designed to engage and mentor younger students for careers in computing and engineering.

Dolecek is the third electrical engineering faculty member and fourth overall at UCLA Engineering to receive an NSF CAREER Award in the 2011-12 academic year. The others are: Benjamin Williams and Danijela Cabric, both assistant  professors of electrical engineering; and Alexander Sherstov, assistant professor of computer science.