UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering Professor Stefan Savage is one of two researchers across the campus to be named the Distinguished Researcher by the UC San Diego Academic Senate. He was honored with the award for his work in cybersecurity.

These awards are a sign of respect from peers for groundbreaking research conducted by members of the UC San Diego faculty.

“This is a tremendous honor. Only two awards are made each year for the entire campus, one in the Sciences and Engineering divisions, and in for Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences divisions,” said CSE Department Chair Sorin Lerner.

Savage attributes his research success to the collaborative atmosphere that has been cultivated at UC San Diego CSE. “As always, any success I’ve had is due to my many great collaborators (fellow CSE Professor Geoff Voelker and our students being first among them),” said Savage, “CSE has succeeded in large part by being such a great home for collaborative work and people who love to work together. I’m indebted to this community that helps build, support, and reinforce that culture.”

CNS Co-Director and CSE Professor, Stefan Savage

Savage is a cybersecurity researcher who holds an expansive view of the field. He and colleagues bring together computer science and the social sciences in their work by taking into account economics, policy, and regulations, not just technology. He and his collaborators have been instrumental in pointing out security vulnerabilities in cars, which have been addressed by the automotive industry’s regulatory bodies and manufacturers. They have tracked the financial transactions responsible for funding email spam campaigns and botnets around the world. The data has been used by government agencies and credit card companies to block these transactions. Savage and colleagues also have designed ways to measure and pinpoint the source of attacks that cripple the internet and large websites, known as distributed denial of service attacks.

Savage has received numerous awards for his work, including a McArthur fellowship in 2017, the ACM Prize in Computing in 2015, and three Test of Time awards from leading academic computer security organizations. He holds the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Chair at the Jacobs School of Engineering and is a professor in the UC San Diego Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Both Savage and the other UC San Diego Distinguished Research Award recipients will be delivering lectures on their research in the fall.

Article written by Kayla Chen