Google graduation: Computing student to collect her degree

Maryam Kontagora from Abuja, Nigeria, is to graduate from Robert Gordon University with a Masters degree in computing on Friday 4 December, after focusing her final project on improving the performance of one of the world's leading search engines. 

Using the spare cycles of the computers at the University, Maryam ran a myriad of concurrent MapReduce jobs to simulate hundreds of users searching and sorting on Google at the same time, ultimately improving the results of these searches. 

In the new year, the MSc graduate is to enjoy further success when she presents her findings on Google searches at a top international conference. Papers were submitted to the IEEE International Conference on Complex, Intelligent and Software Intensive Systems (CISIS), to be held in Krakow, from all over the world and having her work accepted will give Maryam an international forum in which to showcase her findings. 

Her work describes how to improve benchmarks of the search engine's MapReduce environment on multiple virtual machines. Thousands of MapReduce jobs are executed on Google's clusters every day, meaning that lots of the searches we run on our favourite restaurants and TV shows will be executed by using a MapReduce tool.

Maryam explained, "I am delighted to be graduating this week. My ultimate career goal is to help advance knowledge in the field of parallel computing and I hope that this will stand me in good stead for the future." 

Dr Horacio Gonzalez-Velez, a lecturer with the School of Computing who is Maryam's academic supervisor for her dissertation, said, "Maryam has always demonstrated an outstanding ability for computing. She is a very clever young woman with an ability to identify useful connections among concepts that other people miss. Her work is definitely a step in the right direction and will hopefully help us to gain further insights into the performance of parallel computers."