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Updated 9:00 AM March 20, 2009
 

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Jahanian named 2009 Distinguished University Innovator

Farnam Jahanian has been named the U-M Distinguished University Innovator for 2009. Jahanian, a widely recognized expert in network security in the College of Engineering, and a successful entrepreneur, has conducted breakthrough research leading to a fundamental shift in how the Internet is protected from security threats. The culmination of this research was the establishment of Arbor Networks, Inc to deploy the novel technology.

Jahanian will receive his award April 1, at which time he also will give a public address on his work, titled "Securing the Internet Cloud: A Perspective on Seeding Innovation and Technology Transfer." The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. in the Biomedical Sciences Research Building (BSRB) Auditorium. It is open to the public and a reception will follow.

"Professor Jahanian has conducted outstanding research and found ways to turn those discoveries into innovations of great value to the commercial sector," says Stephen Forrest, vice president for research. "He also successfully established the R&D hub for Arbor Networks right here in Michigan at a time when many technology companies have been moving their operations to the coasts. His efforts have helped to attract and keep knowledge workers in the region and provides links to the networking and computing sector for the University."

"It is an honor to be recognized for my research and my efforts to apply these discoveries in the world beyond the University," Jahanian says. "I'm impressed, too, by the level of entrepreneurial activity and interest I see on campus. The U-M is making real progress."

Jahanian and his research group conducted pioneering research during the late 1990s that demonstrated some of the fundamental limitations of Internet architecture at the time. He and his students were able to show the nature of these flaws as well as how to change network routing and operations to address the shortcomings. This work recently received the "Test of Time Paper Award" from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), which recognizes outstanding papers published 10 or more years ago "whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today."

Jahanian also was involved in the late 1990s in a groundbreaking research effort called the Lighthouse Project, involving U-M the and statewide MERIT Network. This research led to discoveries of methods to detect and thwart networking "attacks" aimed at bringing down Internet Web sites and network traffic.

Arbor Networks was co-founded by Jahanian and Robert Malan in 2000 to commercialize these technologies. Today Arbor Networks is a global leader in providing services to detect and prevent network problems. About 70 percent of the world's network traffic is protected by Arbor Networks technologies, and the company's clients include AT&T, Verizon, British telecom, China Telecom and Microsoft.

Jahanian's innovation and entrepreneurship widely has been recognized. In 2006 he was awarded the first annual Governor's University Award for Commercialization Excellence. Ernst & Young recognized him in 2003 as a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 2000 he received the DARPA Innovation Award.

Robert Malan, former graduate student and co-founder, has described his colleague's work as "transformational" on several levels. "Professor Jahanian's vision and direct involvement has been instrumental from the inception of the technology at the research level, all the way to its global sales, deployment and societal impact," Malan says.

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