Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Professor Peter Chen Named IEEE Fellow

Prof. Peter Chen has been named a 2008 Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to fault-tolerant storage systems.

Achieving the grade of Fellows recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and is given to an individual with an extraordinary record of accomplishments, who has also contributed importantly to the advancement or application of engineering, science and technology, bringing the realization of significant value to society.

For more than a decade, Peter Chen has been a pioneer in the field of fault-tolerant storage systems, developing techniques that allow computing systems to survive disk failures, operating system crashes, and computer intrusions. His research has spanned three important classes of storage devices: disk arrays, reliable memory, and distributed file systems.

Chen did some of the earliest work on redundant arrays of inexpensive disks as part of the Berkeley RAID project. He conducted the first performance evaluation of disk arrays and developed the first algorithm for determining how to stripe data across disks. Since this pioneering work, disk arrays have become standard equipment on computer servers and many desktops and are the primary vehicle for providing high-performance, fault-tolerant data storage. The disk array industry is now a multi-billion dollar per year industry.

Chen's Rio (RAM I/O) Project led to the creation of a new storage technology -- reliable main memory -- which is as fast as memory and is as safe from software crashes as disks are. He was the first to propose enhancing main memory to serve as permanent file storage and the first to design, implement, evaluate, and apply such a system.

Recently, Chen has been at the cutting edge of research in the area of computer forensics. His “virtual machines” provide security services that work even after the operating system is compromised. Through the use of the “ReVirt” system, intrusions can be retraced and the events of a computer intrusion recorded with no loss of information.

Chen’s virtual machines utilize what he and his research group terms “introspection,” whereby analysts can answer questions such as: “did someone break into my system using a vulnerability that I (now) know about?” VMware, a leading manufacturer of virtual machines, has incorporated these innovations into its product line in order to improve the reliability and security of its software.

Prof. Chen has received numerous best paper awards for his research, along with his students. Throughout his teaching career, Chen has shown himself to be a gifted and committed teacher. He received the 2001 Amoco Undergraduate Teaching Award, and was named an Arthur F. Thurnau professor in 2007 in recognition of his contributions to teaching.