Henri E. Bal

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prof. dr. ir. Henri E. Bal, MAE
Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Sciences ,
Dept. of Computer Science, Computer Systems section
High Performance Distributed Computing group

Mailing address:

prof. dr. ir. Henri E. Bal
Faculty of Sciences
Dept. of Computer Science
Vrije Universiteit
De Boelelaan 1081A
1081 HV
The Netherlands

Room number: P4.22
Telephone: +31 20 598 7733


Awards and Prizes of my group:

  • Jacopo Urbani
    Most Promising Young Researcher Award 2012 of the VU Network Institute , 26 June 2012
  • Frank Seinstra
    Sustainability prize in the Enlighten Your Research 3 competition, The Netherlands, Dec. 2011
  • WebPIE team WebPIE: a Web-scale Parallel Inference Engine

    Third IEEE International Scalable Computing Challenge (SCALE2010), held in conjunction with the 8th IEEE International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid (CCGrid 2010), First Prize Winner, Melbourne, Australia, May 17-20, 2010.
  • The Ibis Stargazers Team
    First International Data Analysis Challenge for Finding Supernovae, held in conjunction with IEEE Cluster/Grid 2008, First Prize Winner in the BS (basic) category and in fault tolerant category, Tsukuba, Japan, Sep 29-Oct 1, 2008.
  • F.J. Seinstra, N. Drost, R. Kemp, J. Maassen, R.V. van Nieuwpoort, K. Verstoep, and H.E. Bal
    Scalable Wall-Socket Multimedia Grid Computing
    First IEEE International Scalable Computing Challenge (SCALE2008), held in conjunction with the 8th IEEE International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid (CCGrid 2008), First Prize Winner, Lyon, France, May 19-22, 2008. Copyright © 2008 IEEE.


Find out about the international masters degree Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems of the Computer Systems group (click here for a video)


  • Introduction Computer Science (2017), see Canvas; the slides for the first lecture (5 September, 13.30, room Q1.05) are here. For logistical questions (workgroups, schedules, accounts, Canvas, etc.) please ask student assistant George Karlos (g.karlos@student.vu.nl) and not me.
  • Programming Large-scale Parallel Systems (2017)
  • Practicum Parallel Programming: see Blackboard; you can do it either in Period 2 OR 3 (but not both) A kickoff meeting will be organized at the beginning of each period.
  • Research proposal preparation (PDCS only): the first meeting for the 2018 class will be on Friday 9 November 13.00, the second one on 14 December (2 sessions) . More information is available here .
  • 2nd year Bachelor Seminar
  • M.Sc. projects: If you want to do a M.Sc. project in my group, please check the Wiki page

Ph.D. theses supervised

  • Raoul Bhoedjang: Communication Architectures for Parallel-Programming Systems (June 2000)
  • Tim Rühl: Collective Computation in Object-based Parallel Programming Languages (November 2000)
  • John Romein: Multigame -- An Environment for Distributed Game-Tree Search (January 2001)
  • Jason Maassen: Method Invocation Based Communication Models for Parallel Programming in Java (June 2003)
  • Rob van Nieuwpoort: Efficient Java-centric grid computing (September 2003)
  • Ronald Veldema: Compiler and Runtime Optimizations for Fine-Grained Distributed Shared Memory Systems (October 2003)
  • Werner Vogels: Scalable Cluster Technologies for Mission-Critical Enterprise Computing (November 2003)
  • Gosia Wrzesinska: Handling Complexity and Change in Grid Computing (May 2007)
  • Kate Mullen: Separable nonlinear models: theory, implementation and applications in physics and chemistry (November 2008)
  • Tom van der Schaaf: Aura II: a Scene Graph based Architecture for Interactive Parallel Rendering (December 2008)
  • Desmond Germans: Practical Aspects of Virtual Reality Technology in Research and Educational Environments (December 2008)
  • Mathijs den Burger: High-throughput Multicast Communication for Grid Applications (June 2009)
  • Willem de Bruijn: Adaptive Operating System Design for High Throughput I/O, (Jan 2010)
  • Georgios Portokalidis: Using Virtualisation to Protect Against Zero-Day Attacks (Febr 2010)
  • Maik Nijhuis : A Framework for Parallel Streaming Applications (Oct 2010)
  • Niels Drost : Real-World Distributed Supercomputing (Nov 2010)
  • Ela Krepska: Towards Big Biology: High-Performance Verification of Large Concurrent Systems (Sept 2012)
  • Nick Palmer: Smartphones: A Platform For Disaster Management (Oct 2012)
  • Asia Slowinska: Using information flow tracking to protect legacy binaries (May 2012), co-promotor
  • Jacopo Urbani: On Web-scale reasoning (Jan. 2013), Cum Laude
  • Ana-Maria Oprescu: Stochastic Approaches to Self-Adaptive Application Execution on Clouds (Mar. 2013)
  • Roelof Kemp: Programming Frameworks for Distributed Smartphone Computing (April 2014)
  • Cedric Nugteren: Improving the Programmability of GPU Architectures (April 2014), TU Eindhoven (with Henk Corporaal)
  • Ben van Werkhoven : Scientific Supercomputing with Graphics Processing Units (October 2014)
  • Pieter Hijma: Programming Many-Cores on Multiple Levels of Abstraction (June 2015)
  • Kaveh Razavi: Fast and Scalable Virtual Machine Deployment (November 2015)
  • Daniela Remenska: Bringing Model Checking Closer To Practical Software Engineering (February 2016)
  • Claudio Martella: Crowd Textures: From Sensing Proximity to Understanding Crowd Behavior (February 2017), 2nd promotor (with Maarten van Steen)
  • Alexandru Uta: Optimizing the Execution of Many-Task Computing Applications Using In-Memory Distributed File Systems (March 2017)
  • Alessio Sclocco: Accelerating Radio Astronomy with Auto-Tuning (October 2017)

Inauguration, 14 November 2000 (Dutch)

Earlier projects

Previous news

  • Our DAS-5 proposal has been accepted by N.W.O.
    We are organizing a DAS-5 vendor day on 13 June 2014 in Leiden.
  • I'm keynote speaker for Euro-Par 2014 and SBAC-PAD 2014 .
  • Our Cashmere paper (about divide-and-conquer on heterogeneous many-cores) has been accepted for IPDPS'2015.
  • Our Glasswing paper (about a scalable MapReduce framework on OpenCL) has been accepted for SC'14 and was nominated for the best student paper award.
  • I'm steering committee member of a new series of workshops called Euro-EDUPAR (as part of Euro-Par) on Parallel and Distributed Computing Education for Undergraduate Students.
  • Pieter Hijma defended his Ph.D. thesis on 9 June 2015.
  • Daniela Remenska defended her Ph.D. thesis on 8 February 2016.
  • Ben van Werkhoven's CCGrid2014 paper has been nominated for the best paper award
  • Roelof Kemp has defended his Ph.D. thesis on 1 April 2014.
  • Asia Slowinska has won the 2013 Roger Needham PhD award

  • We've organized a DAS workshop in Delft on 13 Feb. 2013, see here
  • I'm global chair of the topic Parallel and Distributed Programming for Euro-Par 2014
  • Jacopo Urbani has won an NWO/VENI grant for his proposal "A Reasonable Web" !
  • Jacopo Urbani defended his PhD thesis on 9 Jan. 2013 and obtained the degree Cum Laude
  • The second edition of our Compiler book has been published, see here and here (August 2012)

  • Jacopo Urbani has won the Most Promising Young Researcher Award 2012 of the VU Network Institute (26 June 2012)
  • Herbert Bos has been appointed to full professor (1 February 2012)!
  • I am the Scientific Director of the ASCI research school
  • I am project leader of COMMIT P20: e-Infrastructure virtualization for e-science applications
  • The Awari work of John Romein and me has been selected in Pickover's math book (and in its Dutch translation as one of 250 milestones in the history of mathematics
  • We have obtained a grant in the NWO Smart Energy program for the Green Clouds project, together with prof. Cees de Laat (University of Amsterdam)
  • We have won the best paper award at A4MMC 2011, the CCGrid SCALE 2010 award, the Roger Needham PhD award (Willem de Bruijn), the best student paper award and the best demo award at MobiCase 2010 (Roelof Kemp, Nick Palmer), the ESWC Best PhD Symposium Paper Award (Jacopo Urbani), and the Sprint Wimax 4G Contest (Nick Palmer and Roelof Kemp)
  • DAS-4 is up and running

Previous Conferences

  • Program Chair of ComplexHPC Spring School 2011 , May 9-13, 2011, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Euro-Par 2009 (Delft, The Netherlands, 25-28 Aug 2009) keynote speaker.
  • CLADE 2009 (HPDC workshop on Challenges of Large Applications in Distributed Environments June 2009, Munich, Germany) invited speaker.
  • CCGrid 2009 (9th IEEE Int. Symp. on Cluster Computing and the Grid, 18-21 May 2009, Shanghai, China) Program Vice-chair.

  • PCGRID08 (2nd Workshop on Desktop Grids and Volunteer Computing Systems, 18 April 2008, Miami, Florida) keynote speaker
  • UKPEW 2008 (24th UK Performance Engineering Workshop, 3-4 July, Imperial College, London) keynote speaker
  • PDMC 2008 (7th International Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Methods in VerifiCation, 29 March 2008, Budapest, Hungary) keynote speaker
  • CCGrid 2008 (8th IEEE Int. Symp. on Cluster Computing and the Grid, 18-22 May 2008, Lyon, France) Program Committee member, Panelist; our team also won 1st prize (shared) of the SCALE Challenge .
  • Dagstuhl seminar Distributed Verification and Grid Computing, 10-14 Aug. 2008, Dagstuhl, Germany, co-organizer

  • SC08 (15-21 Nov., Austin, TX) Program Committee member
  • PDP 2008 (16th Euromicro Int. Conf. on Parallel, Distributed and network-based Processing, 13-15 Febr. 2008, Toulouse, France) Program Committee member
  • eScience 2007 (3rd IEEE Int. Conf. on e-Science and Grid Computing, Bangalore, Inda, 10-13 Dec. 2007), Program Committee member
  • PACT 2007 (16th Int. Conf. on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques (PACT) Brasov, Romania, 15-19 Sept. 2007), Program Committee member
  • HPDC-15 (15th IEEE International Symposium on High-Performance Distributed Computing, Paris, France, 2006) Program co-chair.

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