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Graduate Research Awards Announced at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Contact: Arlie Corday, WPI Media & Community Relations

TOP HONORS: Daniel Bailey, left, receives the Sigma Xi Graduate Research Award from Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Edward Alton Parrish, center, and Karen M. McNamara, assistant professor of chemical engineering.
TOP HONORS: Dan Grecu, right, receives the Sigma Xi Graduate REsearch Award from Worcester Polytechnic Institute President Edward Alton Parrish, left, and Karen M. McNamara, center, assistant professor of chemical engineering.

WORCESTER, Mass. - Two graduate students were honored for their master's and Ph.D. theses at Worcester Polytechnic Institute's 2000 Faculty Honors Convocation April 25.

Daniel Bailey of Worcester, Mass., received the Sigma Xi Graduate Research Award for his master's thesis, "Computation in Optimal Extension Fields." He is majoring in computer science and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Bailey of Wilmington, Del.

"Dan's work is in the area of public key cryptography," reads the citation accompanying the award. "While cryptography is not new, it becomes of increasing importance as the Internet and e-business grow. The problem with the majority of current public-key schemes is that they are relatively slow. Dan has proposed an entirely new approach to realizing fast arithmetics for certain public-key algorithms by creating a new family of finite fields known as 'optimal extension fields' (OEFs). These OEFs allow full utilization of the fast integer operations provided by modern processors. Dan has implemented this theory to produce the fastest reported implementations in the open literature.

Bailey's work has already led to a number of peer-reviewed papers and conference proceedings, including one at the Fiels Institute Conference in Toronto. His thesis advisor is Christof Paar, WPI assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Dan Grecu of Newton, Mass., received a Sigma Xi Graduate Research Award for his Ph.D. thesis titled "Flexible Learning in Multi-Agent Design." He is a computer science major.

"Dan's research is in the general area of artificial intelligence in design," reads the citation for his award. "For the first time, Dan has developed an approach to machine learning that allows the system to decide what to learn and when to learn it. This flexible learning approach can efficiently respond as design requirements are changed. The work, which has led to numerous technical publications, also has significant potential for commercial use given the importance of design to the economy." Grecu's research advisor for this work was David Brown, WPI professor of computer science.

WPI, founded in 1865, is renowned for its project-based curriculum. Under the WPI Plan, students integrate classroom studies with research projects conducted on campus and around the world.