Three WPI Professors Win National Science Foundation CAREER Awards

September 10, 2002

The young faculty at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) continues to shine as three more assistant professors have won National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards. Kathryn Fisler, assistant professor of computer science, Nikolas Kazantzis, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Berk Sunar, assistant professor of electrical & computer engineering, each received a CAREER Award, which is the NSF's most prestigious award for new faculty members.

As CAREER Award winners, Fisler, Kazantzis and Sunar were recognized as young faculty members who show unusual promise as researchers and educators - teacher-scholars most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. They each received grants which typically include five years of funding for a major research project.

"Over the past eight years, 15 WPI professors have received CAREER Awards, an impressive number for a small university, and a reflection of the university's success in attracting outstanding educators and researchers to its faculty," noted William Durgin, WPI's associate provost for academic affairs. "This would be an enviable record for a major university. For WPI, these awards are a testimony to the quality of the new faculty members who have joined us and their commitment to establish solid research programs."

Fisler, whose research is in computer-aided verification of hardware and software systems, received her award for the project "A Computational Infrastructure for Timing Diagrams in Computer-Aided Verification." Fisler has been a member of the WPI faculty since 2000 and earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Indiana University.

Kazantzis' research interests include the analysis, control and optimization of nonlinear processes, and he won his award for "Digital Model-Based Fault Detection and Isolation for Nonlinear Processes." Kazantzis joined the WPI faculty in 2001, and he earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Sunar is the director of WPI's Cryptography and Information Security Research Laboratory, and he got his award for research into "New Directions for Cryptographic Hardware." Sunar became a WPI faculty member in 2000, and he has a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Oregon State University.