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Supporting Innovative Research in Academia – Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship

Created: 17 Dec 2013
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By Darren Shou, Director of Symantec Research Labs

Did you know that Symantec supports and funds innovative research that occurs outside of a Symantec office in an academic setting? We’ve been doing this for the past six years via the Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship. This Fellowship is awarded to graduate students who are conducting innovative research that has real-world value, in the areas of information security and storage systems. This week, Symantec announced the recipients of the 2013 Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship – Kai Ren, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, and Christian Rossow, a postdoctoral researcher at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in The Netherlands and Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.

The 2013 Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship Recipients
Kai Ren, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, is working on improving metadata management in file systems. His work can be 1.5 to 10 times faster than a traditional file system for metadata-intensive workloads, significantly decreasing the time it takes when accessing large collections of small files. Ren also developed tools to monitor and better understand the performance and behaviors of distributed systems which will help us design better systems. Hailing from Changsha, Hunan Province, China, Ren finished his undergraduate in Tsinghua University in July, 2009. Ren also developed tools to improve the understanding of the performance and behaviors of distributed systems which will help design better systems.

Christian Rossow is a postdoctoral researcher at two leading European System Security research groups: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in The Netherlands, and Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. Rossow’s field of expertise is system security, focusing on malware analysis and detection, peer-to-peer botnet monitoring, binary analysis and the effectiveness of anti-spam methods.  His work has been published in highly regarded security conferences such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Symposium on Security and Privacy, Association for Computer Machinery Conference on Computer and Communications Security and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Spam Conference. Rossow received his Ph.D. from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in April 2013 and lives in Borken, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

Supporting Graduate Research
This year’s fellowship recipients will receive the following:

  • Up to $20,000 to cover one year of tuition and to reimburse expenses incurred by the student to engage in research collaboration with Symantec.
  • A separate salaried internship, offering recipients direct on-site collaboration with leading experts from Symantec Research Labs. Mentors from Symantec are paired with award recipients, and every mentor is a top researcher or engineer who can provide ongoing technical guidance on the recipient’s research – both during their graduate training, as well as throughout their internship at Symantec.
  • A laptop preloaded with Symantec software.

Past Fellows – Where Are They Now?
Past fellowship winners have gone on to lead distinguished careers at prestigious universities, innovative start-ups and companies such as Symantec. Professor David Brumley, the first recipient of the fellowship in 2007, was hired on as faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and has since received several accolades including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young scientists and engineers. Many of the fellowship winners have contributed to the development of Symantec’s top technologies including recent fellow, now faculty at Georgia Tech, Dr. Polo Chau, who collaborated in the advancement of Symantec Insight, a reputation-based security technology that tracks and analyzes files from millions of systems to identify new threats as they are created. Fellowship recipient from 2011, Dr. Leylya Yumer, has continued her work in Symantec Research Labs, powering Symantec’s IP and URL Insight program, detecting botnets and malicious websites to keep our customers safe online.  

The 2014 Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship submission process is now open. For more information please visit