Carnegie Mellon University
September 26, 2011

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon's David Brumley Receives Prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Cybersecurity Research

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /

David BrumleyPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's David Brumley has won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) — the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young scientists and engineers. Brumley, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive the award at a White House ceremony this fall.

The PECASE program recognizes scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. Brumley was one of 20 nominated by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the PECASE. His award is in recognition of his "innovation and vital research on malware (malicious software) analysis and for strong educational and outreach activities."

"This is wonderful recognition for a great researcher and outstanding educator," said Pradeep K. Khosla, the Dowd University Professor, dean of CMU's College of Engineering and founder of Carnegie Mellon CyLab, where Brumley conducts his research. "His contributions to eliminating annoying software bugs are dynamic and innovative."

"My goal is to make computer software and systems safe," said Brumley, whose work focuses on the techniques, principles and algorithms for finding flaws in software that hackers use to break into systems. "Attackers only need to find a single flaw to break into a system. Our work tries to find these flaws before attackers do, so that they can be fixed," he said.

Brumley, who also is working on techniques to fight against next-generation malware, is a faculty adviser for CMU's award-winning "Capture the Flag" team. Capture the Flag is a computer security game in which each participating team or individual competes to find a key source of information by solving a litany of challenging problems. The team has won three international competitions this year.

"David Brumley has already made significant contributions in the area of computer malware and is clearly an emerging leader in the field of cybersecurity, both in terms of his research and educational contributions," said Ed Schlesinger, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

In addition to his position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brumley has appointments in the Computer Science Department and CMU CyLab. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics in 1998 from the University of Northern Colorado, a master's degree in computer science in 2003 from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in computer science in 2008 from Carnegie Mellon.

Past CMU PECASE winners include: Jennifer Lerner, head of the Emotion and Decision Lab in the Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Russell Schwartz, associate professor of biological sciences in the Mellon College of Science; Bahar Biller, associate professor of operations management in the Tepper School of Business; and Carlos Guestrin, associate professor of computer science and machine learning in the School of Computer Science.


Pictured above is David Brumley.