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Illinois CS Alum Dongyan Xu Named Next Head of Purdue Computer Science

6/18/2019 4:05:29 PM By Emily Kinsell, Purdue University, and David Mercer, Illinois Computer Science

Professor Dongyan Xu, an alumnus of Illinois Computer Science, has been named the next head of the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University. He begins his position Sept. 1.
Illinois CS alumnus Dongyan Xu joined Purdue University after earning his PhD in 2001, and now prepares to lead Purdue's computer science program (credit: Purdue University).
Illinois CS alumnus Dongyan Xu joined Purdue University after earning his PhD in 2001, and now prepares to lead Purdue's computer science program (credit: Purdue University).

Xu earned a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001 and joined the Purdue faculty the same year. He is currently the Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science at Purdue. From 2016-18, Xu served as interim director of CERIAS – the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue. His research focuses on computer system security, cyberphysical security and cloud computing.

Patrick Wolfe, who is the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of Science at Purdue and himself an Illinois alumnus (BS ECE, BA Music, '98), said Xu is an ideal fit for the leadership position.

"We are incredibly proud of Dongyan's appointment," said Wolfe, who also is the Miller Family Professor of Statistics and Computer Science. "His strong research focus and collaborative approach to building partnerships is just what we need to take this flagship department to even greater heights."

Xu said he is honored to take on his new role and lead the department during a period of strong growth.

"I am humbled by the support of my colleagues and students and will work hard to live up to their expectations," he said. "I will waste no time to pursue the exciting opportunities my department faces on research, education, and development fronts and help my colleagues and students reach their next level of success."

Xu has won many teaching and research awards. He was selected as a Purdue University faculty scholar in 2012 and has received the College of Science Undergraduate Advising (2008), Graduate Advising (2014), Leadership (2013, 2016), Research (2015), and Team (2015, 2017) awards.

Xu also has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2006, and seven Best Paper, Distinguished Paper or Best Student Paper awards from top conferences in computer security and cloud computing.

He has served or is currently serving as the program co-chair of top security conferences, including Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Computer and Communications Security and the Network and Distributed Systems Security Symposium.

At Illinois CS, Xu's PhD advisor was Klara Nahrstedt, the Ralph M. and Catherine V. Fisher Professor.

"She has had tremendous impact on my research and career," Xu said.

Purdue’s Department of Computer Science, the oldest computer science program in the United States, has more than 1,900 undergraduate students, 396 graduate students and 63 faculty members. The program is ranked 20th in the country among graduate computer science programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Illinois Computer Science is ranked fifth.