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Kulkarni Wins NSF Fellowship for Integration of Teaching, Scholarship

March 26, 2010

EECS Assistant Professor Prasad Kulkarni has received one of the most prestigious National Science Foundation honors given to junior faculty members. The multi-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award will support Kulkarni's ongoing efforts to build more secure and better performing software systems.

EECS courses will benefit from Kulkarni’s research on security mechanisms in virtual machines. The new Security and Performance course will incorporate his research and give students’ opportunities to help develop the framework. Students will investigate security, protection and performance aspects on modern software and hardware. Additionally, Kulkarni’s work will form the basis of two new courses, Compiler Construction and Virtual Machines.

“Professor Kulkarni is a dedicated mentor,” says EECS graduate student Micahel Jantz, who conducts research under the direction of Kulkarni. “He listens to my ideas, discusses the development of my projects and provides timely and meaningful feedback whenever I have questions.”

"These highly selective grants are awarded to junior faculty members who are considered to be academic leaders of the future. Prasad is a dedicated researcher and highly deserving of this honor, and his work is critical to our national prominence in cyber security," says Perry Alexander, Acting Director of KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), where Kulkarni conducts research. "Additionally, we are delighted to have three EECS researchers in the last four years receive CAREER awards. Our younger faculty members are being recognized for their pioneering research and effective integration of scholarship and teaching."

At ITTC, Kulkarni is developing a more secure and efficient framework for virtual machines (VMs), which ensure compatability between applications and the devices running them. Cell phones, PDAs and computers are among the billions of devices that have VM software running Internet programs and applications. To limit the cost and start-up time, current VMs apply only basic security checks. Devices are then left vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software that can corrupt and steal private data―from passwords to address books. 

Kulkarni’s new VM framework will slice out the security management and program monitoring tasks and perform them simultaneously with the main program. The framework will reduce the overhead of monitoring and security tasks and allow more secure and efficient execution of future programs.

Kulkarni received his bachelor's in computer engineering from Poona University in 2001 and earned a master's and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Florida State University in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

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