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Dutta and Halderman Named Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professors

Prabal Dutta and J. Alex Halderman, assistant professors in Computer Science and Engineering, have been named Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professors.

Prabal Dutta

Prof. Dutta’s research has pioneered practical, low-power platforms and wireless protocols for pervasive sensing, computing, and communications, typically by leveraging hardware/software insights and applying a whole-system approach that spans circuits to software. His work aims to give us the platforms and protocols to realize these systems at scale and in the service of society, and in the interests of increasing the diversity and longevity of life on our planet.

At Michigan, projects that Prof. Dutta has led or participated in have included HiJack, an open-source hardware/software platform for interfacing a variety of sensors to smartphones that is being adopted for a number of research and commercial ventures; Michigan Micro Motes, which are cubic-mm scale, ~10nW sensor nodes; and a new project called MBus, which is an open-source interconnect architecture for “Smart Dust” that will be designed to allow nano-power, millimeter-scale chips designed by different researchers to interoperate, helping to accelerate progress toward realizing the Internet of Things.

Prof. Dutta received his PhD in Computer Science in 2009 from the University of California, Berkeley and joined the faculty at Michigan in 2010. He was selected for an NSF CAREER award in 2014 and named to Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” list the same year. In 2015, he was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship. He is a recipient of the Intel Early Career Faculty Honor Program Award and is affiliated with the Advanced Computer Architecture Laboratory.

J. Alex Halderman

Prof. Halderman’s research interests span software security, network security, data privacy, anonymity, electronic voting, censorship resistance, digital rights management, computer forensics, ethics, and cybercrime, as well as the interaction of technology with law, governmental regulation, and international affairs.

Prof. Halderman has developed techniques for mining large data sets and has applied them to security issues. This has allowed him to identify weaknesses in cryptographic key generation and to develop ZMap, an open-source tool for scanning the entire IPv4 address space in minutes. ZMap was used to provide monitoring in the aftermath of the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability and to suggest improvements to HTTPS certificate authorities. Prof. Halderman has also introduced Telex, an approach to circumventing state-level Internet censorship based on placing anticensorship technology into ISP network backbones outside the censoring country. He is well-known for his work in the area of electronic voting, where his demonstrations of security vulnerabilities in electronic voting machines and on-line voting systems have influenced election practice in the US and abroad.

Prof. Halderman received his PhD in Computer Science from Princeton in 2009 and joined the faculty at Michigan the same year. In 2015, he was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship. The same year, he was selected for the 1938E Award by the College of Engineering in recognition of his excellence in teaching and his scholarly integrity. He is the director of the Center for Computer Security and Society.

About the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship

Michael P. Wellman, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, endowed the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship in his grandfather’s name. Morris Wellman was an engineer who worked for most of his career as a civil servant of the City of New York. The professorship is awarded to junior faculty members in recognition of outstanding contributions to teaching and research.

Honors and Awards; J. Alex Halderman