PDL News


December 2010
Christos Faloutsos Named ACM Fellow

We are delighted to announce that Christos Faloutsos has been selected to be an ACM Fellow "for contributions to data mining, indexing, fractals, and power laws." The full list of 2010 ACM Fellows can be found at this press release

From "These men and women have made advances in technology and contributions to the computing community that are meeting the dynamic demands of the 21st century," said ACM President Alain Chesnais. "Their ability to think critically and solve problems creatively is enabling great advances on an international scale. The selection of this year's Fellows reflects broad international representation of the highest achievements in computing, which are advancing the quality of life throughout society."

ACM will formally recognize the 2010 Fellows at its annual Awards Banquet on June 4, 2011, in San Jose, California.

Novemeber 2010
Greg Ganger Named an IEEE Fellow

ECE Professor Greg Ganger has been named an IEEE fellow, a distinction reserved for select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation.

Ganger, the Stephen J. Jatras Professor of ECE and computer science and director of the university's Parallel Data Lab, was honored "for contributions to metadata integrity in file systems." Ganger has a broad range of research interests in computer systems, including operating systems, storage/file systems, security, networking and distributed systems. He is particularly interested in developing new ways to structure computer systems to address technology changes and enable new applications. As director of the Parallel Data Lab, Ganger leads projects in areas like storage system architecture, storage security, file systems, disk characterization and server implementation. He recently earned an HP Innovation Award — the third of his career — that will enable him to work with HP Labs on a research initiative focused on cloud computing, a topic on which he recently testified in Washington, D.C.
-- from ECE News Online, Nov 27, 2010

October 2010
PDL Team Wins 3rd in Open Source Software Challenge

An SCS team that included several PDL members won 3rd position (silver prize) in the 'Open Source Software World Challenge 2010', ( from among 26 competing submissions. The award includes $2000, plus travel expenses to accept the prize.

The team consisted of graduate SCS students Mr U Kang and Mr. Polo Chau, and advisor Christos Faloutsos, with several more contributors, listed on the project web site - The PEGASUS system is able to mine billion-node graphs, using parallelism and specifically, 'hadoop'. Code, documentation, instructions video and related papers are on the web site.

October 2010
Cranor Company Receives Grant

Wombat Security Technologies, a CMU spinoff, recently was awarded a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Grant from the U.S. Air Force as a phase II grant to develop software for cybersecurity awareness and training. The company was founded by School of Computer Science Professors Jason Hong, Norman Sadeh and Lorrie Cranor.
-- from 8.5x11 News Oct. 21, 2010

October 2010
Lorrie Cranor Information Security Panelist

Dena Haritos Tsamitis, director of the Information Networking Institute and director of education, training and outreach at Carnegie Mellon CyLab, and Lorrie Faith Cranor, director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory and associate professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, are panelists at the Alta Associates' Executive Women's Forum National Conference, Oct. 20-22, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Tsamitis will moderate and Cranor will be a panelist for the panel talk titled "Information Security, Privacy & Risk Management: From Research to Practice." Tsamitis also will be a panelist for the talk "Rethinking Social Networking — The Good, the Bad, and the Enablement." The Executive Women's Forum is an annual gathering of executive-level women in the areas of information security, risk management, governance, compliance, IT audit and privacy.
-- from 8.5x11 News Oct. 21, 2010

October 2010
Satya Wins 2010 SIGMOBILE Award

Congratulations to M. Satyanarayanan (Satya), who has been honored with the SIGMOBILE 2010 Outstanding Contributions Award ”for his pioneering a wide spectrum of technologies in support of disconnected and weakly connected mobile clients.” He joins an illustrious group of previous winners: The SIGMOBILE Outstanding Contribution Award is given for significant and lasting contributions to the research on mobile computing and communications and wireless networking.

September 2010
NSF Project to Make Internet Secure and Smart

Carnegie Mellon Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Peter Steenkiste is leading a three-year, $7.1 million effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a next-generation network architecture that fixes security and reliability deficiencies now threatening the viability of the Internet. The eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA) Project, one of four new projects funded through the Future Internet Architecture Program of the NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, will include intrinsic security features so that users can be assured that the websites they access and the documents they download are legitimate.

In addition to Steenkiste who is the principal investigator, other CMU faculty members working on the project, including several members of the PDL, are David Andersen, David Feinberg, Srinivasan Seshan and Hui Zhang of the Computer Science Department; CyLab technical director Adrian Perrig; Sara Kiesler of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute; and Jon Peha and Marvin Sirbu of the Engineering and Public Policy Department.
-- from 8.5x11 News Sept. 2, 2010

September 2010
Christos Faloutsos Wins SIGCOMM 2010 Test of Time Award

Congratulations to Christos and his co-authors (brothers Michalis Faloutsos and Petros Faloutsos) for winning the SIGCOMM Test of Time award for their paper "On the Power Law Relationships of the Internet Topology." The ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years in the past in Computer Communication Review or any SIGCOMM sponsored or co-sponsored conference that is deemed to be an outstanding paper whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today. Here is a link to the abstract of the 1999 paper.

July 2010
Best Paper Award at PAKDD 2010

School of Computer Science Ph.D. students Leman Akoglu and Mary McGlohon received the "best paper" award in late June at the 14th Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (PAKDD 2010). The paper, "OddBall: Spotting Anomalies in Weighted Graphs," by Akoglu, McGlohon and Professor Christos Faloutsos, gives fast algorithms to spot strange nodes in large social networks. The paper was selected among 412 submissions, and 42 accepted papers.
-- from 8.5x11 News July 15, 2010

July 2010
Gregory Ganger Earns 2010 HP Innovation Research Award

Carnegie Mellon University's Gregory Ganger was one of more than 60 recipients worldwide to receive the 2010 HP Innovation Award, which is designed to encourage open collaboration with HP labs resulting in mutually beneficial, high-impact research.

Ganger, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Parallel Data Lab (PDL) at Carnegie Mellon, will collaborate with HP labs on a research initiative focused on cloud computing issues. This is Ganger's second HP Innovation Award. He received his first HP Innovation Award in 2008 for research involving scalable and self-managing data storage systems.

HP reviewed more than 300 submissions from individuals at 202 universities in 36 countries. Ganger said the award will deepen and strengthen the PDL's long-standing ties with HP and with outstanding researchers globally. The PDL continues to work on solutions to critical problems of storage system design, implementation and evaluation.

"This is a wonderful award for Greg and his team because it recognizes the innovative, collaborative research excellence so endemic to the Parallel Data Lab," said Mark S. Kamlet, executive vice president and provost at Carnegie Mellon. "We applaud their dedication and energy in streamlining ubiquitous cloud computing use."

"The annual HP Labs Innovation Program is an ideal platform for HP to initiate highly innovative projects with leading researchers in universities worldwide. The collaborative effort between HP and these universities has delivered breakthroughs in areas such as cloud computing, optical computing and nano-materials — fundamental enablers of the next generation of products and services for communities around the globe," said Rich Friedrich, director of strategy and innovation at HP
-- from CMU Press Release July 8, 2010

July 2010
FAWN Team Wins 2010 JouleSort Challenge

Congratulations to Vijay Vasudevan, Lawrence Tan, David Andersen of Carnegie Mellon University, and Michael Kaminsky, Michael A. Kozuch, Padmanabhan Pillai of Intel Labs Pittsburgh for winning the 2010 JouleSort (energy-efficient sort) for the 108 records category. Using FAWNSort on the following equipment ( Intel Xeon L3426 1.86GHz, 12GB RAM, Nsort, Fusion-io ioDrive (80GB), 4 x Intel X25-E (3 x 32GB, 1 x 64GB)) , they achieved 44,900 records sorted / joule. Medals are awarded each year at ACM SIGMOD. More information on the challenge, including the rules, may be found at

July 2010
Gregory Ganger Testifies in Washington About Benefits and Risks of Using Cloud Computing

In testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement, Gregory Ganger discussed the benefits and risks of using cloud computing.

Ganger, head of Carnegie Mellon's Parallel Data Lab and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said that cloud computing has the potential to provide large efficiency improvements for federal information technology (IT) functions. Cloud computing refers to computing that is based on the Internet, which allows computer users to share software, databases and other services that are provided or managed by other parties over the Web. This contrasts with personal computing, where all data storage and processing occurs within the user's computer and uses software loaded onto that computer.

Ganger recommended to federal officials that the government support both standardization and research/experimentation efforts in the pursuit of cloud computing's potential. He also noted that moving federal IT "to the cloud" will require significant technical and change management training for IT staff and managers as well as explicit information and effort sharing across a broad swath of federal agencies considering the use of cloud computing.

"Cloud computing is an exciting realization of a long-sought concept: computing as a utility. Pursuing judicious use for federal IT functions is important, given the large potential benefits," Ganger said.

View the webcast | Prepared text of Greg's testimony | Links to all prepared text of all participants

-- from Carnegie Mellon Media Notification, June 30, 2010

June 2010
Christos Faloutsos Receives 2010 ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award

Congratulations to Christos Faloutsos, who is the winner of the 2010 ACM SIGKDD Innovations Award. The Innovation Award recognizes one individual or one group of collaborators whose outstanding technical innovations in the field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining have had a lasting impact in advancing the theory and practice of the field. The contributions must have significantly influenced the direction of research and development of the field or transferred to practice in significant and innovative ways and/or enabled the development of commercial systems.

Christos, a Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, focuses his research on data Mining for graphs and streams, fractals, self-similarity and power laws, indexing and data mining for video, biological and medical databases, and data base performance evaluation (data placement, workload characterization).

May 2010
Lorrie Cranor Expert on Privacy Issues in Advertising Panel

Lorrie Cranor, associate professor of computer science and engineering and public policy, discussed the privacy issues swirling around the technical mechanics of online advertising as part of a panel of experts in Washington, D.C., sponsored by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. Read more about the discussion at and listen to a podcast of the event at
-- from CMU 8.5x11 News May 27, 2010

May 2010
Bruno Sinopoli Receives NSF Career Award

Carnegie Mellon University's Bruno Sinopoli has received a five-year, $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop computer tools for securing and controlling cyber-physical systems.

"I am honored to receive this award which will help me continue investigating tools and methodologies to design and analyze cyber-physical and networked embedded systems," said Sinopoli, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a researcher at Carnegie Mellon CyLab.

Sinopoli said his goal is to set new standards for the robustness and security of critical infrastructures, such as power, gas and water distribution networks, transportation systems and other physical structures. "While critical infrastructure can greatly benefit from the extensive use of information and communication technologies to improve safety and performance indices, their integration raises issues of reliability and security. In this project I want to address these concerns."
-- from CMU Press Release May 11, 2010

April 2010
Priya Top Teacher!

Congratulations to Priya Narasimhan who is a recipient of this year's Carnegie Institute of Technology Benjamin Richard Teare, Jr. Teaching Award. This award will be celebrated at "A Celebration of Teaching", which recognizes the accomplishments of faculty who exemplify the university’s standards of excellence in education. This event honors Carnegie Mellon's distinguished faculty members on their outstanding contributions to the university and their devotion to and effectiveness in their teaching.

February 2010
Carnegie Mellon's Lorrie Cranor Addresses Congressional Subcommittees About Privacy Issues and Location-Based Services
Carnegie Mellon University's Lorrie F. Cranor discussed the risks and benefits of online services that collect and use location information at joint meetings of the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Subcommittee on Communication and Technology Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Increasingly popular location-based services allow Internet users to share their location with friends, track employees or children, or receive information based on current geographic location. GPS and other technology built into cell phones and laptop computers allows people to be located automatically, often to within a few hundred feet. However, there is growing concern about the invasive nature of this technology, according to Cranor, an associate professor of computer science and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon.

"Due to the way cellular technology works, for example, the widespread use of cell phones enables round-the-clock surveillance of citizens. It is important that the storage of individual location data be minimized and protections be put in place to limit when it can be disclosed to the government," said Cranor, who has conducted several studies about privacy issues and location-sharing technologies.

Another cause for concern is the lack of accessibility to privacy controls on a variety of location-sharing applications. During a recent evaluation of 84 location-sharing applications, Cranor's team found that "the majority of those privacy controls are not easily accessible from the main page or home page of the application itself."

"Only 18 of the 84 services we reviewed this month mentioned privacy controls or security on the front page of their Web site," Cranor said. "In most cases, it is almost impossible to find out what a service is going to do with your location information without signing up for the service and trying it out."

In addition, Cranor's team found many location-based services had no privacy policies posted on their Web sites, and those that did post policies often made no mention of location information. A report on the Carnegie Mellon location sharing study is available online.
-- from Carnegie Mellon University Press Release Feb. 23, 2010

February 2010
Carnegie Mellon Joins Open Cirrus Test Bed For Advancing Cloud Computing Research
Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science is the latest research institution to host a site as part of Open Cirrus(tm), a global, open-source test bed for the advancement of cloud computing research and education. The computing cluster, housed in Carnegie Mellon's Data Center Observatory, will provide resources for Carnegie Mellon faculty and other researchers worldwide. Open Cirrus was launched in 2008 by HP, Intel and Yahoo! to promote open collaboration among industry, academia and governments on data-intensive computing.

"Having a facility like this and being able to participate in Open Cirrus will provide us with unprecedented opportunities for research and education on Internet-scale computing," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of the School of Computer Science. "We see applications well beyond those being pursued by industry today, including astronomy, neuroscience, and knowledge extraction and representation, and we will be able to delve more deeply into the design of the system itself."

Greg Ganger, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Carnegie Mellon's Parallel Data Lab, said the new computing cluster, which has 159 servers and 1,165 processing cores, was made possible by Intel's generous donation of CPUs and money. The cluster has 2.4 trillion bytes, or terabytes, of memory and almost 900 terabytes of storage. A contribution by APC of power management and cooling systems also was crucial for building and operating the cluster. Like other sites in Open Cirrus, the computing cluster will be made available to researchers worldwide later this year.

Ganger said much of the research at the Carnegie Mellon site likely will focus on the university's strengths — how to make the cloud computing infrastructure faster, more reliable and more energy efficient and how to use the cloud in innovative ways for new applications. "This site embodies our commitment to the collaborative, open-source research environment that Open Cirrus promotes and to aggressively pursuing cloud computing research on this campus," he said.
-- from Carnegie Mellon University Press Release Feb. 15, 2010

February 2010
Priya Narasimhan Receives Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award

Congratulations to Priya Narasimhan, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who has received the Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award. This award is made to a faculty member within the Carnegie Institute of Technology in recognition of excellence in engineering education. The basis for selection is excellence in engineering education in the areas of teaching and/or educational innovation and educational leadership.

Priya is the award's 2009-2010 recipient in recognition of her efforts in transforming the undergraduate Embedded Systems capstone design course in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and for her passion, dedication, and high performance in teaching. In addition, she has introduced many community-based projects, such as development of assistive technologies for the visually impaired, which have provided great motivation for the students and have raised student accomplishments to very high levels.

January 2010
Ganger Next Holder of the Stephen J. Jatras Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering
PDL Director and Professor of ECE, Greg Ganger will be the next recipient of the Stephen J. Jatras Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This chair was established in 1997 and has been previously held by Mark H. Kryder (first recipient, 1997) and Rob A. Rutenbar (second recipient, 2001).

Stephen J. Jatras (EE '47) retired as chairman of the Telex Corporation. He was a Life Trustee of Carnegie Mellon, having served on the Board of Trustees since 1976, and co-chaired the ECE Advisory Board from its inception in 1992. The recipient of several alumni awards and a number of humanitarian awards for charitable work, Jatras died in January 2000.


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