Junwen Yang: Detecting and Fixing the Web’s Toughest Bugs
Most of today’s most popular websites sit on top of massive databases, increasing both their functionality and the opportunities for site-breaking bugs. Junwen Yang’s research in the group of Professor Shan Lu creates new methods that help developers detect and avoid the many things that can go wrong with these complex, interactive applications.
“Nowadays, database-backed software is widely used for online shopping, social networking, and many other sites, where increasingly huge amounts of user data are managed and processed,” Yang said. “The performance and correctness of these software systems are crucial to people’s daily life. My thesis aims to build tools to help improve the performance and correctness of big-data software.”
Yang’s papers on this topic have developed techniques to tackle a wide range of performance problems, and detected and fixed thousands of performance issues in the latest versions of popular web applications along the way. One new approach for automatically designing high performance web applications earned Yang and her co-authors the Distinguished Paper award at the 2019 ICSE meeting, and her work was also recognized with the 2019 John Vlissides Award from SPLASH, the ACM SIGPLAN conference on Systems, Programming, Languages, and Applications: Software for Humanity.
“Junwen's award-winning research has helped the software industry and research community understand the challenges and opportunities in improving the performance of web applications, something that affects everybody's daily life, through a novel approach that combines software engineering, program analysis, database, and interface design techniques,” Lu said. “Junwen has been a great leader in her research projects so far and I expect her to finish an excellent Ph.D. thesis and accomplish great things after her Ph.D.”
Yang thanked the Department of Computer Science for their support, highlighting the move to Crerar, the infusion of new faculty with a range of expertise, and the access to the right tools for her research.
“The department and university provides us with excellent computing resources, ranging from our powerful desktops to the likes of the Research Computing Center and Chameleon Cloud,” Yang said. “These resources are highly flexible and easy-to-use which enabled me to conduct the experiments with peace of mind. Further, tech staff in the department are nice and responsive and helped me a lot in resolving infrastructure issues related to my research.”