Alumnus Frank Marshall Endows Graduate Fellowships

 Students Andrew Biggadike, Debin Gao, and Cynthia Wong are Named First Recipients

April 4, 2005

Carnegie Mellon graduate students Andrew Biggadike, Debin Gao, and Cynthia Wong are the first recipients of the Frank J. Marshall Graduate Fellowship for outstanding research in computer networking security. The award will be used to support their stipends and tuition. Biggadike is a candidate for a M.S. in Information Security Technology and Management (MSISTM) within the Information Networking Institute (INI). Gao and Wong are Ph.D. students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

Andrew Biggadike is from Ridgewood, NJ. In 2002, he received a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, where he won first-team All-American honors twice for his golfing record, with a lineup that won the Division III NCAA Championship. After interning for VMware, Inc. in Palo Alto, CA last summer, he plans to join their technical staff when he graduates this May.

"Andrew has been working on using virtual machines to build host-based intrusion detection systems, a new method that could protect the computer from some of the most dangerous and stealthiest attacks, such as kernel attacks," explained his advisor, Dawn Song, Assistant Professor of ECE and CS. "Andrew has been doing an excellent job."

This April he will travel with fellow INI students Daniel Ferullo and Geoffrey Wilson to the Association of Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Data Communications (ACM SIGCOMM) Asia Workshop in Beijing, China, where they will present research they co-authored with Adrian Perrig, Assistant Professor of ECE, EPP, and CS.

"The paper describes techniques that can be used to enable P2P (Peer-to-Peer) communications between hosts behind NATs (Network Address Translation devices), with various port allocation characteristics," reported Biggadike.

Debin Gao was nominated for the award by his advisors, Mike Reiter, Professor of ECE and CS, and Song. "I feel great about this," Gao offered. "I shared the news with my family right after I was notified. And I think I'll work harder from now on."

"Debin is an outstanding student who is making significant contributions in the area of intrusion detection," Reiter reported. Song added, "His contribution in intrusion detection has been broadly recognized, and his work has appeared in the top security conferences such as the USENIX Security Symposium and the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS)." Both the ACM CCS and the USENIX Security Symposium have had more than 250 papers submitted and have an acceptance rate lower than 12%, according to Song.

Gao counts receiving his M.S. in ECE in 2004 among his most rewarding moments on campus. Born in China, he completed his undergraduate work in Singapore, where he won a Hewlett-Packard Prize, the Power Book Prize, and was a teaching assistant (TA). Now, Gao aids with 18-732, Secure Software Systems, taught by Song, and is one of the students in the Carnegie Mellon CyLab. He plans to use his teaching and research skills for a career in academia.

Cynthia Wong's advisor, Research Scientist Chenxi Wang, recommended her for the fellowship, noting, "In her first year at CMU, she published (as the first author) two technical papers in first rate conferences." Her most recent publication was in the ACM's 2004 Workshop of Rapid Malcode (WORM)—"WORM is the top workshop for researchers working in the field of internet worm defense, which is Cyndy's main focus," said Wang, noting that WORM papers have a 22% acceptance rate.

A student in the Parallel Data Lab at Carnegie Mellon, Wong's first paper was published in the 2004 Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers/International Federation for Information Processing (IEEE/IFIP) International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN), a top dependability conference for which less than 20% of the conference proceedings are accepted. She has submitted her third paper to the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.

Wong volunteers for ECE's Engineering Graduate Organization, taking pictures and planning for the fall picnic and winter party, and serving on the Graduate Student Assembly. She is a TA for Reiter's Introduction to Computer Security course, 18-730. Growing up in Hong Kong, Wong attended high school in Michigan and completed her B.S. at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was president of their ACM chapter. In addition, she participated in the Graduate Intern Council at Sun Microsystems, Inc., helping to organize events and suggesting improvements; she hopes to return to industry research when she graduates.

Although coming from different backgrounds, Gao and Wong were both attracted to Carnegie Mellon because of its strong programs in computer network security and expert faculty. Biggadike's main interest is the security of systems software; he chose the MSISTM program since it provides a unique opportunity to explore information security at an institution that is a leader in both systems development and security.

Their fellowships are funded by alumnus Frank Marshall, who also established two other honors this year which were presented at the ECE diploma ceremony last May. The Frank J. Marshall Scholar Award, given to an ECE senior or graduate student in recognition of outstanding scholastic and research achievement went to Jicai Chow. Emily Lauffer won the Frank J. Marshall Outstanding Undergraduate Award, which is offered to a senior or junior who has demonstrated a balance of academics, leadership, and service to the community. The two prizes are a subset of the Frank J. Marshall Excellence in Electrical and Computer Engineering Award.

Marshall earned a B.S. from the then EE department in 1969 and has held many positions in a variety of companies, including vice president of engineering at Cisco Systems. He was a founding investor, board member, and chairman of the board of directors for Netscreen Technologies, Inc. which was purchased by Juniper Networks.

Currently, Marshall is a private investor and consultant to a number of high technology companies, and a member of the Engineering College Silicon Valley Advisory Council.

The award winners met with Marshall last fall. Biggadike recalled, "It was very interesting to hear about his experiences and perspective on the industry."

(L-R) Debin Gao, Cynthia Wong, and Andrew Biggadike are the first recipients of the Frank J. Marshall Graduate Fellowship.

Marshall is a private investor, consultant to high tech companies, and a member of the Engineering College Silicon Valley Advisory Council.

Andrew Biggadike

Debin Gao

Cynthia Wong

Frank J. Marshall earned his B.S. from the then EE department in 1969; his yearbook photo is pictured.