Faculty Snapshot: Cliff Stein
Tell us about your work.
My research is mainly on the design of algorithms for large scale optimization problems. I am particularly interested in how we solve problems where there is a massive amount of data. In these situations we need to use many machines to solve our computational problems, and the fundamental challenge is that the data is now distributed across many machines, and communicating between machines is much slower than computing. The main question is how to we organize the communication so that we can compute efficiently.
Tell us about a book that you have read recently and that you would recommend.
I recently read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It is a novel about a man, Count Rostov, who is confined to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow for the first 30 years of the Soviet Union. Although it is fiction, we experience many of the major of the major historical events of the era through the eyes of this one man in this one place. The book is very well written, full of interesting characters, and the experiences and perspectives of the Count Rostov are insightful.
What is a self-care practice that works for you?
I have been running regularly for many years. I almost always run outside. I find it much less enjoyable to run in a gym or on a treadmill. Having a destination to run to is a good motivation and it also frees me up to be alone with my thoughts, as long as I stay alert enough to avoid the cars.