CSL Alum wins 2020 Rising Star award

6/23/2020 Lizzie Roehrs, CSL

Written by Lizzie Roehrs, CSL

In Spring 2020, the IEEE Computer Society gave its first inaugural Rising Star in Dependability Award. This award recognizes a junior researcher, from academia or industry, who demonstrates “outstanding potential for creative ideas and innovative research in the field of dependable and resilient computer systems and networks.” The 2020 “Rising Star” is CSL Alum Karthik Pattabiraman. 
CSL Alum Karthik Pattabiraman
CSL Alum Karthik Pattabiraman

“Winning this award is very inspiring to me as it is a recognition of not only my achievements, but also those of my students and research collaborators,” said Pattabiraman. “I am truly honored that the dependability community, with whom I’ve been associated for the last 15 years, has chosen to bestow this honor upon me.”

Pattabiraman studies what he calls “good enough dependability.” His research focuses on applying the principles of dependable computing to commodity systems such as desktop computers and mobile phones where cost is of primary importance.

“This area is becoming even more important as society integrates more and more computation in our daily lives, through the Internet of Things,” said Pattabiraman. “Failures and attacks on these IoT systems can cause large-scale disruptions. However, these systems are extremely cost-conscious, and hence need very, very judicious protection. This is what I’m working on currently.”

Pattabiraman, who is currently an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of British Columbia, says that his time at Illinois contributed to his success. 

“It was a fantastic experience to learn from the top experts in the area - Illinois was one of the top places in dependable computing,” said Pattabiraman, one of CSL Professor Ravi Iyer's former students. “Illinois also taught me the value of believing in yourself and sticking to your ideas even if others doubt you.”

When it comes to advice for students, Pattabiraman says that standing by your ideas and chasing big challenges are the keys to success. Though, it’s just as important to enjoy the social side of graduate school. 

“If it works out, it’ll be truly impactful. Even if it doesn’t quite work out, you’ll learn a lot in the process,” said Pattabiraman. “Make the most of your graduate school experience, especially at a place like Illinois - I don’t only mean academic pursuits. The friends and connections you make here are things that’ll stay with you for a long time, even more than academic lessons.”

Pattabiraman says he is especially excited that his award coincides with the 50th anniversary of the DSN conference and that his PhD student will be presented with the William Carter dissertation award at the same conference.

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This story was published June 23, 2020.