Peng Liu awarded IST’s first Professorship in Cybersecurity

Jessica Hallman
May 29, 2018

Peng Liu, professor of information sciences and technology, was recently awarded the first Raymond G. Tronzo, MD Professorship in Cybersecurity by the College of Information Sciences and Technology. The award was announced during the college’s faculty and staff awards banquet on April 27.

The professorship will help the college recruit and retain leading faculty in support of the college’s newly created Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations bachelor’s degree program. It is named for late Penn State alumnus Raymond G. Tronzo and is funded through a $1 million gift from his wife, Diana. It is the third professorship established in IST, and the first created for the college since 1999.

“I am deeply honored to receive this professorship,” said Liu. “I plan to use the award to foster innovations in cybersecurity research and innovation.”

According to Andrew Sears, dean of the College of IST, Liu was appointed to the professorship in recognition of his significant contributions to the college and cybersecurity research.

“This includes significant success in obtaining external funding to support his research and students engaged in cybersecurity research, which has produced numerous insights as well as publications in important venues that allow Dr. Liu to share the results of his research with other researchers and practitioners,” said Sears. “He has also made valuable contributions to our cybersecurity curriculum as well as more general contributions to the college and the University.”

Liu, who serves as director of the University’s Center for Cybersecurity, Information Privacy and Trust, said that he will utilize the award funds to expand the center’s innovative research program and uncover new frontiers in the field. He also plans to foster further innovations in the curriculum for the college’s new undergraduate Cybersecurity program.

Liu is pioneering research in two areas: applying deep learning to make the asymmetric battle between malware and security analysts significantly more symmetric; and making cyber-physical worlds, like city infrastructures and intelligent transportation systems, more observable, secure, and manageable.

“The first frontier is important since the asymmetric battle is a fundamental reason why it is very difficult to make computers secure,” he said. “The second frontier is important since the physical world and the cyberspace are quickly becoming more coupled together.”

The College of IST began offering its Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations bachelor’s degree program – one of the first of its kind among U.S. colleges and universities – in the fall 2017 semester. The college expects a record number of first-year students at University Park in the fall 2018 semester.

“The new bachelor of science in cybersecurity is driving a meaningful portion of the record undergraduate growth we expect in the college this year,” Sears concluded.

Last Updated May 29, 2018