Fred B. Schneider, a computer scientist whose foundational work on trustworthy computer systems has advanced the field and helped define national research programs, is being honored by IEEE with the 2012 IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.
The award, sponsored by the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Fund, recognizes Schneider for contributions to trustworthy computing through novel approaches to security, fault tolerance and formal methods for concurrent and distributed systems. The award will be presented on 27 June 2012 at the IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Networks in Boston, Mass.
Schneider’s expertise in cybersecurity places him among a handful of academics to whom the U.S. government turns for advice on cybersecurity issues. His research on fault tolerance, security, formal methods and public policy has significantly contributed to the development of trustworthy computer systems. For a system to be trustworthy means that it must perform as expected despite failures or malicious attacks. Trustworthy systems are important in military and government sectors as well as financial and other business applications where computing systems have become integral. Schneider’s extensive writing has helped define trustworthy systems and set the course for U.S. research programs. His promotion of a “science of security” approach has spurred new U.S. Department of Defense and civilian funding initiatives.
Schneider made important contributions to fault-tolerant distributed systems starting in the 1980s. He helped develop the “state-machine approach” for building reliable distributed systems. This approach is a general method for implementing fault tolerance by replicating servers and coordinating client interactions with the replica servers. His 1990 paper on the topic became the authoritative reference on the state-machine approach and is still relevant today.
Schneider also was the editor of “Trust in Cyberspace” (National Academy Press, 1998), which became a landmark treatise on cybersecurity, giving him international visibility in the field. The book marked the beginning of Schneider’s research focus on cybersecurity, which has culminated in his push that a “science of security” should serve as a foundation for the design and construction of more secure systems. An alternative to reactive approaches to computer and software security, this research thrust is now receiving increased funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other research sponsors.
Schneider has served on the U.S. Defense Science Board and U.S. Department of Commerce’s Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board. He has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology’s Research and Science Education Subcommittee and Technology and Innovation Subcommittee, as well as the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorisim, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities. Schneider has been the co-chair of the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board since 2003 and chief scientist for the NSF TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology) Science and Technology Center since 2005.
An IEEE Fellow, Schneider is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences. His honors include the SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award (2007) for his state-machine paper and an honorary Doctor of Science (2003) from NewCastle University, U.K. Schneider received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. and master’s and doctorate degrees from Stony Brook University, N.Y. Schneider is currently the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1978.