Meet CSE: Patrick Lavin is a Ph.D. Student with a Passion for Efficiency

The School of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) offers an interdisciplinary pool of student researchers that is unlike any program in the United States.

CSE students bridge software and hardware together into a seamless and efficient system with real-world applications ranging from engineering and health to social domains and computer science.

Today, we’d like you to meet Patrick Lavin, a Georgia-native with a passion for efficiency, whether it is regarding algorithms or when racing with weighted backpacks.

Advisors: CSE Associate Professor Rich Vuduc and School of Computer Science Research Scientist Jeffrey Young

Research Focus Areas: Sparse Algorithms, Memory Systems

Hometown: Augusta, GA

High School: Evans High School

Undergrad Degree: Computer Science and Math      

Current Degree Program: Ph.D. in Computational Science and Engineering

Tell us a little bit about your research:

I’m working on measuring and understanding the performance of sparse and irregular memory access across existing and emerging computer architectures. I’ve written a memory benchmark called Spatter to help us do just that.

Where is one of your favorite places to hang out in Atlanta?

Although I don’t visit as often as I’d like, my favorite place to hang out in Atlanta also happens to be the best brewery in Atlanta, Orpheus Brewing. They sit right on the Atlanta BeltLine, so the view is nice. The selection of beers is broad, and includes some of the sourest sours I’ve found. Top notch. 

If you could create something, what would it be? 

I’ve always wanted to share my idea for an app I thought of for saving money at the movies. So what you do is, you buy one of the large refillable popcorn buckets, for say $10. Then, you put in the app that you bought it and what movie you’re going to see. Next, the app matches you with someone who wants to buy the tub after your movie is finished. You meet the other person after your movie and pass it off to them, for maybe $5. They can then get a refill, and after their movie, they can continue the cycle. The app would be called Pop Pop Pass. 

What are some of your hobbies? 

I’ve been participating in this really weird sport called rucking. Basically, we put some weight in our backpacks, and then work as a team to carry heavy things – such as logs, sandbags, or people – around the city, or wherever they tell us to go. It’s meant to be a team building activity and is lead by former and current members of U.S. Special Forces. 

The shorter events last about 5 hours. The longer events are overnight and last for 12 hours or more. It’s somewhat hard to explain, so look it up if you’re curious. And, meet up with the Atlanta Ruck Club if you’re really curious. 

Do you have a favorite podcast you could tell us a bit about?

My wife and I are big fans of The Last Podcast on the Left. It’s a comedy podcast that covers all sorts of dark and macabre topics from serial killers to cults to alien sightings. They’ve been at it for almost 9 years so if you are looking for a good place to start, check out their series of episodes on Jonestown.

Core Research Areas: 

Kristen Perez

Communications Officer