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3 Faculty Members Attain Prestigious IEEE Fellow Recognition – Syracuse University News

Three faculty members have been recognized as Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for 2023, a high professional honor conferred on less than 0.1% of the organization’s membership annually.
Wenliang (Kevin) Du and Vir Phoha, both professors of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Britton Plourde, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, have been elevated to that designation.
Wenliang (Kevin) Du
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. It has 409,000 members in more than 160 countries who are engineers, scientists and allied professionals whose technical interests are rooted in electrical and computer sciences, engineering and related disciplines.
The Fellow designation is the IEEE’s highest level of membership, attained through nomination by peers and approval by the IEEE Board of Directors.
Du is being recognized for contributions to cybersecurity education and research. Phoha is being honored for his work developing attack-averse active authentication in computing systems using behavioral patterns. Plourde’s Fellow status comes in regard to his contributions to the integration of qubits into future practical quantum computing systems.
University Vice President for Research Duncan Brown says that election as an IEEE Fellow recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of these faculty members. “I congratulate Professors Du, Phoha and Plourde,” Brown says. “This award demonstrates the high impact that their research has had in the scientific community. Election to an IEEE fellowship shows that these faculty have made important advances in engineering, science and technology. Their accomplishments underscore Syracuse University’s continuing commitment to academic excellence and its reputation as a top-tier research institution.”
Du’s research focuses on system security for web, mobile, smartphone/tablet and Android operating systems. He has also developed improved access control for mobile systems. In the area of computer security education, work that he began in 2002 to develop hands-on labs for student computer security education, is now used by more than 400 universities and colleges in more than 30 countries.
This year, he also received the IEEE Region 1 Technological Innovation (Academic) Award. Du also recently was named principal investigator for a National Science Foundation grant of $399,000, “Building and Internet Emulator for Cybersecurity Education.”
Vir Phoha
Phoha’s research in systems security involves studying malignant systems, active authentication, machine learning, decision trees and statistical and evolutionary methods. He looks at large-time series data streams and static data sets and anomalies and optimization of computer networks to build defensive and offensive cyber-based systems.
Phoha was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2020 and a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in 2018. He has achieved 13 patents for inventions in machine learning, biometrics, user identification and authentication, data decision-making and cybersecurity attacks. He is currently an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems and two other journals.
Britton Plourde
Plourde is a leading expert in quantum computing and is working to develop new computers capable of generating solutions to complex problems using qubit computing systems. His work examines ways to improve superconducting quantum circuits. He and his research partners recently received a $5.6 million Army Research Office grant to investigate processes that deposit energy in solid-state qubits, which can lead to correlated errors in quantum computers.
Plourde has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than 15 federally funded grants. At Syracuse, he has been awarded more than $10 million in research funding from a number of government sources and national research foundations.
Du and Phoha were nominated for Fellow status by Distinguished Professor Pramod Varshney, of the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who was himself recognized an IEEE Fellow in 1997.
Two other professors of electrical engineering and computer science at Syracuse University, Biao Chen (2015) and Jian Tang (2019), have also been named IEEE Fellows.
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