Computer science professor wins commercialization award

March 20, 2013  

Mikhail Atallah

Mikhail Atallah
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Mikhail Atallah, distinguished professor of computer science in the College of Science, is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Commercialization Award for Purdue University Faculty.

The award is given annually to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing Purdue research discoveries. It was established with an endowment gift from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation.

Atallah co-founded Arxan Technologies in 2001 and has served on its board of scientific advisers since then. The company has developed software protection that is used in more than 200 million computing devices. Its products provide protection by linking "guards" at different points within software code, making it far more difficult for hackers to access.

"If malware is difficult to detect and remove, so is 'goodware' injected into software that attackers will find difficult to detect and remove," Atallah said. "The result is software that detects tampering and other policy violations and can respond with appropriate defensive actions." 

Atallah came to Purdue as an assistant professor of computer science in 1982 after earning a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University. He was named a full professor in 1989 and has been a distinguished professor since 2004. He is affiliated with the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) and has a courtesy appointment in electrical and computer engineering.

He is a fellow of both the Association for Computing Machinery and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). He received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1985, and in 1999 he was selected as one of the best teachers in the history of Purdue University.

"Professor Atallah combines the best of both teaching and research," said Suresh Garimella, Purdue's associate vice president for engagement. "His work has resulted in a product that fights a problem threatening the technology that life in the 21st century so depends on.  He has, indeed, helped make it a better world."

Atallah is the 10th recipient of the Outstanding Commercialization Award, which includes a $5,000 stipend. Previous recipients are Stephen R. Byrn, Alok Chaturvedi, R. Graham Cooks, Philip Low, Karthik Ramani, Fred Regnier, George Wodicka, Lonnie Bentley and the late Leslie A. Geddes.

Atallah will discuss his work at 1 p.m. April 3 in the Purdue Memorial Union Anniversary Drawing Room. A reception will follow the presentation, which is open to the public.

Atallah also will be honored that evening along with 47 other Purdue faculty, staff and students during the annual Inventors Recognition Reception, sponsored by Purdue Research Foundation.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432,

Sources: Suresh Garimella, 765-494-9095,

Mikhail Atallah, 765-494-6010,

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