Shi Receives 2013 UH Computer Science Academic Excellence Award

Shi Receives 2013 UH Computer Science Academic Excellence Award
Research Addresses Challenges Faced with Innovations in Computing and Technology

Dr. Weidong (Larry) ShiDr. Weidong (Larry) Shi is the 2013 recipient of the UH Computer Science Academic Excellence Award.

Dr. Shi joined the UH Department of Computer Science in Spring 2011 after working several years as a researcher in industrial research labs. When you ask a faculty member about their research interests, usually you hear some standard keywords (e.g., systems, visual computing, health computing). Not with Larry.

His research mission is to address existing and emerging challenges faced by the society with innovations in computing and technology. To accomplish this goal, his research team has made significant contributions in securing computing systems, in novel user authentication approaches for mobile computing, and in transforming the cloud-computing model.

In the area of designing secure computing systems, Larry has a long history of research in protecting software execution integrity and data privacy by constructing security primitives at the architectural level. The research becomes even more critical under the popular cloud-computing model as both software and data containing either proprietary or user sensitive information are hosted by third-party cloud service providers. Security and privacy remain the primary concerns that hinder further adoption of cloud. Larry's team has been working toward solutions that can ensure privacy of cloud customer’s data and applications through innovations at the platform and architecture level.

In the area of creating trustworthy smartphone platforms, his team has created a series of novel user authentication and identity management approaches by leveraging the physical sensors available on today’s smartphones. These include the touch panel, the microphone, and the various motion sensors. Larry has developed revolutionary techniques for touch-gesture-based mobile user verification solutions along with integrating biometric sensors (such as fingerprint readers) directly with the touch panel.

Larry's ultimate goal is to create transforming solutions under the model of everything as a service. His motivation originates from the trend that in the coming era, every technology will eventually become a service. This will profoundly change how research outcomes of computing science will be provisioned and adopted by society. His work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security.

"The UH Computer Science Academic Excellence Award recognizes outstanding academic achievements,” said Prof. and Department Chair Jaspal Subhlok. “Dr. Shi’s research accomplishments in the last few years have been simply outstanding. He formed a very active research group quickly after joining University of Houston and had several significant research accomplishments at the intersection of security, mobile computing, and cloud computing, some of the hottest areas in computer science. Dr. Shi richly deserves this award.”

In accepting the award, Dr. Shi mentioned, "I would like to thank everyone in the department for creating an open environment that allows me to explore the frontiers of computing."