Sanders named director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory

ECE News


Story Highlights

  • ECE Professor William H. Sanders has been named the director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory.
  • CSL was founded 60 years ago and has a rich history of innovation and achievement.
  • Sanders will oversee a lab of 101 faculty who come from nearly a dozen departments around campus.

William H. Sanders
William H. Sanders

ECE Professor William H Sanders has been named the director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL), an interdisciplinary research facility that focuses on advancements in information technology, computing, control and communications.

Sanders, an expert in secure and dependable computing and security and dependability metrics and evaluation, has been acting director since 2008. He replaces Ravi K. Iyer, now interim vice chancellor of research at the University of Illinois.

“One of the strengths of CSL is the spectrum of research we conduct,” said Sanders, a Donald Bigger Willett Professor of Engineering. “Our researchers, who are top in their respective fields, use an interdisciplinary approach to tackle problems from a systems perspective. Energy systems are one such area. With their various areas of expertise, CSL researchers are working to create energy systems that are reliable, efficient and clean.”

Founded 60 years ago, CSL has a rich history of innovation and achievement. Nevertheless, Sanders is cognizant of the current challenges that face CSL—and, indeed all areas of the University.

“We’re well aware of the financial issues that face the University,” said Sanders. “At the same time, there are more research opportunities than we’ve seen in a long, long time. And with its strong interdisciplinary focus, CSL is well poised to be responsive to these opportunities nationally and internationally.”

In fact, there have been a number of recent successes for CSL. The Department of Defense recently awarded CSL, under the direction of Tamer Başar, a new $7.5 million Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative. In addition, the National Science Foundation recently announced a $5 million grant to establish a national ethics center at CSL that would develop an online resource center for ethics in science, mathematics, and engineering. CSL faculty members C. K. Gunsalus, principal investigator, and ECE Professor Michael Loui, co-principal investigator, are leading that effort.

The 101 faculty members in CSL come from nearly a dozen departments from across campus, and nearly a quarter of them are chaired professors. CSL faculty are participating in research projects across campus that have grants of almost $300 million and involve collaborations with more than 30 University departments.

For the last two years, Sanders has been pulling double duty as the director of the Information Trust Institute (ITI) and as acting director for CSL. Now that he has been named director of CSL, he will be stepping down as ITI director. “That will allow me to focus 100% of my time on CSL,” he said.

During the time that he has served as director of ITI and CSL, Sanders has been able to keep up his research, particularly his leadership as director of the $7.5 million dollar NSF/DOE/DHS Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for Power (TCIP) Center and its successor, the $18.8 million dollar DOE/DHS TCIPG Center, which are at the forefront of national efforts to make the U.S. power grid smart and resilient.

Sanders has published more than 200 technical papers. He is a co-developer of three tools for assessing system performance, dependability, and security: METASAN, UltraSAN, and Möbius. He is also a co-developer of the Loki distributed system fault injector, the AQuA/ITUA middlewares for providing dependability/security to distributed and networked applications, and the NetAPT (Network Access Policy Tool) for assessing the security of networked systems. He is a Fellow of IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery, and has received the Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising for 1998, 2000, and 2002.

In September 2010 Sanders was appointed as a member of the newly formed Smart Grid Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

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