People of ACM European Chapters - Anastasios Gounaris

July 19, 2018

Can you briefly describe your own line of research and how you became interested in this area?

My research focuses on blending high performance computing and data management. This area is rapidly advancing as an essential component in coping with big data, but my interest in it has been since the early 2000s, when I did my PhD. There are two main reasons I am so interested in this topic: First, it is an interdisciplinary one, and I like to transfer results from one area to another so that both areas benefit and we can avoid reinventing the wheel. Second, it calls for and enables end-to-end solutions in big data management, that is, from raw data getting useful results that are inherently more applicable in practice.

In your area of research, what recent advance/emerging subfield will yield important advances in the years ahead?

There is a big effort in providing out-of-the-box solutions for advanced data analytics. For example, by using tools such as Spark, Flink and R, someone can easily deploy working data science prototypes in a relatively small amount of time. I think that this trend will continue in the coming years. My team is trying to develop efficient automated cost-based optimization algorithms that can enhance the data flows that are nowadays manually created, and also provide full working code for streaming anomaly detection. Such activities are a small contribution that will further lift the burden from data scientists and analysts.

Will you tell us a little about the ACM Student Chapter at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki?

The chapter was first established in 2008 and in the past few years, we have organized a variety of events such as workshops, hackathons and talks. This year, 20 new members, composed of undergraduates and postgraduates, took over the chapter with a vision to create a well-established local tech community. This vision has been fulfilled in a short period of time. A series of talks, as well as hands-on tutorials and workshops, have been taking place both at the university and at local high schools due to the ACM Student Chapter’s efforts. People can follow our actions through our website and on social media.

We intend to extend our activities further over the next year. We plan to organize events that can reach even more people and have a greater impact on the local community. We also aim to strengthen the local development teams’ participation in cutting-edge technologies, such as machine learning and blockchain, so that everyone can participate. Overall, with a motto of “We learn and create, together”, we are planning activities that will bring more students and science enthusiasts to our team in order both to contribute to and benefit from it.

What is a frequent piece of advice you give to students as they embark on a career in computing?

My piece of advice is to enjoy the trip. A career in computing allows for creativity, which should not be taken for granted. It involves continuous reading and staying informed about the state of the art. Learning new things nearly every day is also important.

Anastasios Gounaris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Thessaloniki, Greece. His research interests include autonomic, adaptive and wide-area data management; massive parallelism; flow and query optimization; data mining; and resource scheduling. Gounaris is a member of Aristotle University’s Data and Web Science Lab, which conducts research in the areas of databases and data mining.

He also serves as the faculty advisor for the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki ACM Student Chapter.