David M. Nicol

 David M. Nicol
David M. Nicol
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
(217) 244-1925
451 Coordinated Science Lab

For More Information


  • Ph.D., Computer Science,University of Virginia, 1985


Prof. David M. Nicol is the Herman M. Dieckamp Endowed Chair in Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, and a member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also serves as the Director of the Information Trust Institute (iti.illinois.edu), and the Director of the Advanced Digital Sciences Center (Singapore). He is PI for two national centers for infrastructure resilience: the DHS‐funded Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (ciri.illinois.edu), and the DoE funded Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium (cred‐c.org); he is also PI for the Boeing Trusted Software Center, and co-PI for the NSA‐funded Science of Security lablet.

Prior to joining UIUC in 2003 he served on the faculties of the computer science departments at Dartmouth College (1996‐2003), and before that the College of William and Mary (1987‐1996). He has won recognition for excellence in teaching at all three universities. His research interests include trust analysis of networks and software, analytic modeling, and parallelized discrete‐event simulation, research which has led to the founding of startup company Network Perception, and election as Fellow of the IEEE and Fellow of the ACM. He is the inaugural recipient of the ACM SIGSIM Outstanding Contributions award, and co‐author of the widely used undergraduate textbook “Discrete‐Event Systems Simulation”.

Nicol holds a B.A. (1979) degree in mathematics from Carleton College, M.S. (1983) and Ph.D. (1985) degrees in computer science from the University of Virginia.

Teaching Statement

I aim to convey difficult material clearly and challenge students to integrate concepts to solve new types of problems that follow immediately from the material covered.

Research Statement

The study of large-scale systems encounters problems in representation, scalability, and behavior. Project MOSES investigates such issues, particularly in the context of networking security.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

I have almost always had undergraduates working on my research team. I support undergraduate summer interns.

Research Interests

  • security policy and its analysis
  • parallel discrete-event simulation
  • fluid based modeling
  • mathematical modeling and analysis
  • security
  • public-key infrastructure

Teaching Honors

  • Alumni Fellowship Award, given by the William and Mary Society of the Alumni for excellence in teaching, 1992.

Research Honors

  • Titan of Simulation, Winter Simulation Conference, 2022
  • Herman M. Dieckamp Endowed Chair in Engineering, 2020
  • Franklin W. Woeltge Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2012-2020
  • Best paper award, Conference on Principles of Advanced and Distributed Simulation, June 2012
  • Reconocimiento Especial, Tecnologico De Monterrey (honoring my textbook "Discrete-Event Systems Simulation", 2010
  • Best paper award, MALWARE 2010
  • Best paper award, Conference on Principals of Advanced and Distributed Simulation, June 2008
  • ACM SIGSIM Distinguished Contributions Award, 2007
  • ACM Distinguished Lecturer, 2008
  • ACM Distinguished Lecturer, 2007
  • Fellow of the ACM, for contributions to discrete event simulation
  • Best Paper Award, Conference on Principles of Advanced and Distributed Simulation, June 2005.
  • Best Paper Award, IPSI 2004-Studenica Conference on Internet Technologies
  • IEEE Fellow, 2003.
  • Marion and Jason Whiting Fellowship for study at Oxford University, 2000.
  • Best Paper Award, 9th Annual Conference on Parallel and Distributed Simulation, 1995.
  • Employee Excellence Award, Control Data Corporation, 1982.
  • Great Performer's Award, Control Data Corporation, 1980.

Recent Courses Taught

  • CS 460 ALG (CS 460 ALU, CS 460 LB1) - Security Laboratory