Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Prof. Z. Morley Mao Selected to Receive CoE George J. Huebner, Jr. Research Excellence Award

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Prof. Z. Morley Mao has been selected to receive the 2016 – 2017 George J. Huebner, Jr. Research Excellence Award from the College of Engineering. This award recognizes a demonstrated sustained excellence in research and related scholarly activities.

Since coming to Michigan in 2004, Prof. Mao has focused her teaching and research on mobile computing, security, networking, distributed systems, SDN, and cloud computing. Her work involves both empirical data collection and analysis, as well as the design and implementation of new systems.

Through her RobustNet Research Group, Prof. Mao has led inquiries into issues of Internet routing, measurement and security, wide-area and enterprise network management, malware behavior analysis and host-based security in general. In recent years, she has investigated the effectiveness of mobile computing systems, which are composed of computational, wireless, security, and cloud services which have constraints that are completely unique from those of traditional desktop computers. This has resulted in the development of software tools to monitor and analyze power use and performance of mobile architectures, including the PowerTutor and Mobiperf tools.

In 2015, Prof. Mao and her collaborators authored "Accelerating Mobile Applications through Flip-Flop Replication," which was selected as a best paper at MobiSys '15. The paper introduces Tango, a new method for using a remote server to accelerate the performance of mobile applications. Tango replicates an application and executes it on both the client and the server, increasing performance by allowing either replica to lead execution.

Together with her students, Prof. Mao has recently published several noteworthy security results in mobile and network security, including on user interface deception attacks, packet injection vulnerabilities, and inconsistent security policy enforcement. The 2016 paper, "MitM Attack by Name Collision: Cause Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment in the New gTLD Era," described a Man in the Middle (MitM) attack enabled by enterprises' use of generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as .school or .network, as a way of making it easier for employees to access and manage internal systems.

Prof. Mao received her PhD degree in computer science from UC-Berkeley in 2003. She has served as Associate Editor of three IEEE and ACM journals and was the the program co-chair for MobiSys'14. She has published at the CCS, MobiCom, MobiSys, SIGCOMM, SIGMetrics, IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, NDSS, NSDI, and USENIX Security Symposium conferences.

She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, a Sloan Fellowship, an IBM Faculty Partnership Award, and Google Faculty Research Awards. Within EECS, she has been named a Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professor and has received the EECS Outstanding Achievement Award. She has been a faculty advisor to the Girls in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (gEECS) student group since 2004, and the ECSEL student group for graduate student women since 2015.

Posted: January 27, 2017