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Contact Info

William H. Sanders
Department Head
ECE ILLINOIS
306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Ph: (217) 333-2300
Fax: (217) 244-7075
whs@illinois.edu

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William H. Sanders

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department Head
  • Department Head's Office
2090 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg
306 North Wright Street
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 333-2301
Professor

Affiliation

  • Department Head's Office

Primary Research Area

  • Reliable and secure systems

Education

Ph.D., Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, 1988

Biography

William H. Sanders is a Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, the Interim Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory (www.csl.illinois.edu) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Computer Science. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the ACM, a past Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Fault-Tolerant Computing, and past Vice-Chair of the IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing. He was the founding Director of the Information Trust Institute (www.iti.illinois.edu) at Illinois.

Dr. Sanders's research interests include secure and dependable computing and security and dependability metrics and evaluation, with a focus on critical infrastructures. He has published more than 200 technical papers in those areas. He is currently the Director and PI of the DOE/DHS Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) Center (www.tcipg.org), which is at the forefront of national efforts to make the U.S. power grid smart and resilient.

He is also co-developer of three tools for assessing computer-based systems: METASAN, UltraSAN, and Möbius. Möbius and UltraSAN have been distributed widely to industry and academia; more than 500 licenses for the tools have been issued to universities, companies, and NASA for evaluating the performance, dependability, and security of a variety of systems. 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.

For more information

Teaching Statement

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in computer engineering. Most recently, I taught ECE/CS 541, Computer System Analysis. ECE 541/CS 541 is a comprehensive introduction to methods for computer system and network analysis. It focuses on methods that are applicable to a wide range of systems and practical uses and implementations of these methods. Broadly speaking, the course is divided into three parts: analytic/numerical modeling, simulation, and measurement. Each of these three approaches to computer system and network analysis has important uses, and will be covered in detail. Using each of these methods, the course will address models for performance, dependability (reliability and availability), security (availability, integrity, confidentiality), survivability, and performability (combined performance/dependability/security) analysis.

Research Statement

Dr. Sanders's research interests include dependability/security evaluation, architecting reliable & secure systems, stochastic modeling, and performance evaluation of distributed systems. He has published more than 200 technical papers in these areas. He is a co-developer of three tools for assessing the performability of systems represented as stochastic activity networks: METASAN, UltraSAN, and Möbius. Möbius and UltraSAN have been distributed widely to industry and academia; more than 500 licenses for the tools have been issued to universities, companies, and NASA for evaluating the performance, dependability, security, and performability of a variety of systems. He is also a co-developer of the Loki distributed system fault injector and the AQuA/ITUA middlewares for providing dependability/security to distributed and networked applications. He is also currently the Director and PI of the DOE/DHS Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for Power (TCIPG) Center. In all these activities, he leads and conducts research to architect and validate systems that are intended to be trustworthy (secure, reliable, safe, and survivable).

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

As Director of the Information Trust Institute, I coordinated (with other faculty and staff) the development of a significant summer intern program. The program paired promising undergraduate students from around the world with ITI faculty members who are doing research on information trust topics (including security, reliability, safety, privacy, survivability, and correctness) that are relevant to the students' interests. Many of the summer interns had previously been limited to classroom work, and were excited by their experiences attacking real-world research problems and interacting with professors on an informal, individual basis. Several students reported that their internships had encouraged them to pursue graduate studies, particularly at Illinois, even if they had not previously considered postgraduate work.

Faculty members also appreciated the program, since it not only provided direct support for their research efforts through the students' work, but also allowed them to build relationships with outstanding undergraduates, possibly leading to graduate work or other collaborations. In 2007, 18 students from around the U.S. and as far away as Serbia and India participated in the program. The internships, which are supported by state and federal funds, include stipends and, in some cases, an allocation for travel expenses. Interested undergraduate students in their second or third year at any university can apply for the program by following directions on the ITI web site (www.iti.illinois.edu).

Research Interests

  • Computer Systems Modeling and Analysis
  • Architecting Reliable and Secure Systems
  • Dependability/Security Evaluation

Research Areas

  • Computer networking
  • Computer security, privacy, and information trust
  • Distributed and peer-to-peer systems
  • Dynamic reconfiguration of systems for fault tolerance and mitigation
  • Efficient energy management and conversion for lighting, communications, information technology, transportation, and appliances
  • Energy system economics and public policy
  • Fault tolerance and reliability
  • Impact of intermittent renewable resources on dynamic operation and economics
  • Intelligent devices and controls for electricity grids
  • Interactions between computer networks and power networks, including cyber security, analysis, and design
  • Networking and distributed computing
  • Operation and control of power systems
  • Power and Energy Systems
  • Reliable and secure systems
  • Software systems
  • System design for reliability
  • System modeling and measurement

Teaching Honors

  • Named on the University of Illinois’s Fall 2003 Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students.
  • Recipient of one of the 2002 Engineering Council Awards for Excellence in Advising, awarded to the top 10% of engineering advisors. (Selection is based on nominations from engineering students.)
  • Named on the University of Illinois’s Fall 2002 Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students.
  • Recipient of one of the 2000 Engineering Council Awards for Excellence in Advising, awarded to the top 10% of engineering advisors. (Selection is based on nominations from engineering students.)
  • Recipient of one of the 1998 Engineering Council Awards for Excellence in Advising, awarded to the top 10% of engineering advisors. (Selection is based on nominations from engineering students.)

Research Honors

  • Paper "Modeling the Fault Tolerance Consequences of Deduplication" won the Best Paper award at the 30th IEEE Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems (SRDS 2011), Madrid, Spain, Oct. 5-7, 2011.
  • Paper “Detecting and Exploiting Symmetry in Discrete-State Markov Models” selected as one of the best papers at the 12th Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing (PRDC’06); expanded version published in IEEE Transactions on Reliability.
  • Paper “Designing Dependable Storage Solutions for Shared Application Environments” selected as one of the best papers at the International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN-2006); expanded version accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing.
  • Paper “Barbarians in the Gate: An Experimental Validation of NIC-based Distributed Firewall Performance and Flood Tolerance” selected as one of the best papers at the International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN-2006).
  • NASA Tech Brief Award for NTR no 42352: “A Performability-Oriented Software Rejuvenation Framework for Distributed Applications,” 2006.
  • Named Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery for “Outstanding contributions to the evaluation and design of dependable systems and networks,” January 2004.
  • Paper “Formal Specification and Verification of a Group Membership Protocol for an Intrusion-Tolerant Group Communication System” won the award as the Best Paper presented at the 2002 Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing (PRDC 2002) Tsukuba, Japan, December 16-18, 2002.
  • Papers “The Möbius Modeling Tool” and “Möbius: Framework and Atomic Models” named as being among the best papers at the 9th International Workshop on Petri Nets and Performance Models, and then selected for publication (as a single paper) in an upcoming special issue of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.
  • Named Fellow of the IEEE, for "Contributions to tools and techniques for performance and dependability evaluation of computer systems and networks" (Jan. 2000).
  • Paper "On the Effectiveness of a Message-Driven Confidence-Driven Protocol for Guarded Software Upgrading" selected as one of the best papers at IEEE IPDS' 2000 (expanded version published in Performance Evaluation), 1999.
  • Paper "Measure-Adaptive State-Space Construction," selected as one of the best papers at IEEE IPDS '2000 (expanded version published in Performance Evaluation), 1999.
  • Paper "State-Space Support for Path-based Reward Variables," selected as one of the best papers at IEEE IPDS '98 (expanded version published in Performance Evaluation), 1998.
  • Paper "An Efficient Disk-based Tool for Solving Very Large Markov Models," selected as one of the best papers at the 9th International Conference on Modelling Techniques and Tools (expanded version published in Performance Evaluation), 1997.
  • Paper "'On-the-Fly' Solution Techniques for Stochastic Petri Nets and Extensions" selected as one of the best papers at IEEE PNPM-7 (expanded version published in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering), 1997.
  • Paper "Algorithms for the Generation of State-Level Representations of Stochastic Activity Networks with General Reward Structures" selected as one of the best papers at IEEE PNPM-6 (expanded version published in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering), 1995.
  • Recipient of Faculty Award, Digital Equipment Corporation, Incentives for Excellence, 1989, 1990, 1991. Twelve faculty members are selected nationally each year to receive this award. An individual can receive this award for a maximum of three years. ($75,000 cash prize, $105,000 in equipment)

Public Service Honors

  • Elected member of the Board of Directors of Sigmetrics, served 2005-2006.
  • Elected member of the Board of Directors, ACM Sigmetrics, served 2001-2003.
  • Elected Vice Chair and later Chair of IEEE Technical Committee on Fault-Tolerant Computing. Served as Vice-Chair 2000, and as Chair 2001-2003.
  • Made Director of University of Illinois Motorola Center for High-Availability System Validation, established by Motorola Inc. in December 1999 with funding of $1.1 million dollars for a 3-year period.
  • Named Vice-Chairperson of IFIP Working Group on Dependable Computing, 1997.
  • Elected member of IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing, July 1992 (youngest member ever elected).