Tevfik Kosar – Professor, LSU Department of Computer Science

Nov 16, 2009 by Staff @ Business Report

Explaining what Professor Tevfik Kosar does at LSU’s Department of Computer Science is, well, almost impossible if you’re not fully versed in the subject. Let’s just say that Kosar spends his days thinking about computer data—where to store it, how to access it, how to split it up and bring it back together again—and he’s good at it.   

Kosar worked on the highly respected Condor Project at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D. Now he works on a project called PetaShare at LSU that helps researchers and scientists across the state store large amounts of data, access each other’s data and collaborate with it. “What I do,” he says, “is basically develop tools which enables mainly scientists to be able to easily access, process and interpret large amounts of data so that they can extract the information they need.”

But Kosar isn’t entirely lost in kilobytes, megabytes and terabytes. He’s firmly grounded in reality, especially the one that exists in Louisiana’s educational system. That’s why he, and his colleagues, created the Pelican Foundation, which has already established two charter schools—Kenilworth Science & Technology School in Baton Rouge and Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in New Orleans—that focus heavily on advancing students’ math and science skills. Kosar, whose daughter just started kindergarten, says improving the education of Louisiana students is essential to creating a better state. “If you look at the rankings for K-12,” he says, “we’re first, second or third. And that’s not from the top, but from the bottom.”

But Kosar’s work isn’t going unnoticed. He’s received a CAREER grant award for young faculty from the National Science Foundation, the LSU Rainmaker and Flagship Faculty awards, 10/12 magazine Young Scientist recognition and numerous other grants and honors.

“I really enjoy helping other people,” Kosar says.

Age 35
If you could have a job other than your own, what would it be? “I would like to be a teacher at a high school. I really enjoy teaching.”

Click here for the complete list of 2009’s Forty Under 40 winners.
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