Professor Sethumadhavan Wins Sloan Fellowship

Feb 27 2013 | By Holly Evarts

Simha Sethumadhavan, associate professor of computer science, has been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow for 2013. He is among 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers who will each receive $50,000 for use in their work.

Simha Sethumadhavan

“I am very happy to have received such an honor,” said Sethumadhavan. “This recognition means a lot to me, and will help run my exploratory research in making computers run more efficiently and securely.”

An expert in computer hardware and security, Sethumadhavan directs the Computer Architecture and Security Technology Lab at Columbia Engineering, where he works on improving computer security with hardware enhancements and making them more energy-efficient with a model he calls “analog-digital hybrid computing.”

Sethumadhavan hopes to change the way people think about computer security, raising it from an afterthought to a priority. “Current security measures have largely overlooked the benefits of hardware enhanced security,” he noted, “and are mostly oriented to top-down design where the most exposed layers of the system, the network/application layers, are first studied with the assumption that the lower layers are secure, even when they are not. The lack of a holistic view of security urgently needs to be addressed if we are to improve overall security of systems.”

Sethumadhavan, who joined Columbia Engineering in 2008, received an NSF CAREER award in 2011. He earned his BSE from the University of Madras, and his MS and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.

“The Sloan Research Fellows are the best of the best among young scientists,” said Dr. Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “If you want to know where the next big scientific breakthrough will come from, look to these extraordinary men and women. The Foundation is proud to support them during this pivotal stage of their careers.”

Awarded annually since 1955, the Sloan Fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. They are nominated by their fellow researchers and chosen by a distinguished panel of senior scholars.

The 2013 Sloan Research Fellows were drawn from 61 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada and represent a wide range of research interests in eight scientific fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics.