January 22, 2007
Three ECE faculty members won awards from the College of Engineering this year, including Dawn Song, who received a George Tallman Ladd Research Award and JosÃ© Moura and Markus PÃ¼schel, who were selected for the Outstanding Research Award.
Dawn Song, Assistant Professor of ECE and Computer Science (CS), won a George Tallman Ladd Research Award, which is granted in recognition of outstanding research, professional accomplishments, and potential. In 2005 she received both an IBM Faculty Award and a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for her research in computer security and cryptography.
Song's primary research focuses at the juncture of software analysis and network security, for example in automated defense against network worms. She also conducts research in cryptography, which has recently resulted in new secure multiparty protocols for computing set operations. This capability is an enabler for a range of applications-including many in homeland security-in which sets must be operated on in conjunction but privately, so that as little information about the sets is revealed as possible.
Her work impacts both academia and industry: Song designed a new course in secure software systems at Carnegie Mellon and her industrial collaborations include plans with Symantec, Microsoft, and Cisco to apply her research techniques to their systems and products to enable their hosts and networks to benefit from her technology.
According to Michael Reiter, Professor of ECE and CS, Song and her students have improved upon years of work in the field: "Dawn is in the top tier of researchers of her professional age in computer security, together with two or three others in the U.S.," he wrote in a letter nominating her for the faculty award. "I believe she has the capabilities to make a significant impact on computer security research and practice in the future."
JosÃ© Moura, Professor of ECE and Biomedical Engineering, and Markus PÃ¼schel, Associate Research Professor of ECE, were chosen for the Outstanding Research Award. The honor recognizes an exceptional research contribution that has enhanced the college's reputation in a global or national context.
As leaders of a large national research team, Moura and PÃ¼schel have helped define the area of automatic performance tuning via the SPIRAL project. SPIRAL is a tool for generating optimized numerical software, automatically tuned to run best on any new hardware architecture.
"SPIRAL is a first step towards a future in which software library development is done by computers, freeing humans to focus on other problems," wrote Rob Rutenbar, Jatras Professor of ECE and Professor of CS, in a letter nominating the researchers. "SPIRAL is a major intellectual contribution to the field, a leading effort in its area, and a tool that has real world impact."
Moura and PÃ¼schel co-guest edited a Proceedings of the IEEE special issue in February 2005, and two of their recent papers have already accumulated close to a hundred citations. The SPIRAL project has been funded for a total of more than nine million dollars over the last eight years, by sponsors including DARPA, the NSF, and Intel, which has licensed SPIRAL for its vendor libraries.
Song, Moura, and PÃ¼schel, will be honored during a faculty awards banquet on April 21, along with all of the winners from the College of Engineering. Other recipients include Shelley Anna, from Mechanical Engineering, who also received a George Tallman Ladd Research Award, as well as Irving Oppenheim and Cliff Davidson, both of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who will be presented with the Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award and the Philip L. Dowd Fellowship Award, respectively.