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Robert Cunningham

Robert K. Cunningham is an SEI alumni employee.

Dr. Robert K. Cunningham is the Associate Director of Cyber Assurance in the CERT Division at the Software Engineering Institute and is an Adjunct Professor of Cybersecurity at the Institute for Software Research in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Cunningham started his career in industry, designing and developing a parallel and distributed operating system for a next-generation weather radar system. After completing his master's degree, he became a staff member in the Machine Intelligence Group at Lincoln Laboratory, where his research focused on machine learning, digital image processing, seismic analysis, and image and video understanding. He became interested in securing sensors, data, and systems, so he transferred to the Information Systems Technology Group, where he pursued system security research and development. Initially, he focused on intrusion detection systems that do not require advance knowledge of the method of attack, then broadened his research to consider detection and analysis of malicious software.

Dr. Cunningham led multiple groups at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, each with a different focus on computer security: test and evaluation, intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, hardware security, and cryptography. He sought and started collaborations leveraging the basic research performed by academia and the applied research performed by the FFRDC. He earned an MIT Excellence Award for his leadership. Dr. Cunningham remains interested in protecting systems and data against remote and local attackers, using techniques of machine learning, system security, and cryptography.

Throughout his time working on cybersecurity, he has been interested in evaluating the performance of security systems. Dr. Cunningham has patented security-related technology, presented and published widely, chaired the IEEE Cybersecurity Initiative, and served as founder and general chair for the IEEE Cybersecurity Development (SecDev) Conference, as general chair for the International Symposium on Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection (RAID) and the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (IEEE S&P), and as chair of or on program committees for RAID, the Workshop on Rapid Malcode (WORM), the IEEE International Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security, and IEEE S&P, among others.

Dr. Cunningham has also served on several national panels and led many national teams. He led the research working group for the National Security Agency's computer network defense research and technology transition program manager, receiving a commendation for his work. He was elected to the executive committee of the Institute for Information Protection (I3P) and was appointed to the executive advisory board for the Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA—now IARPA) organization. Dr. Cunningham managed a large, multi-institution research effort to secure process control systems for the I3P and the Department of Homeland Security. He served as the Lincoln Laboratory representative to the U.S. Department of Defense's Priority Steering Council on Cyber Security Research and Development. He also served on the U.S. Army Cyber Materiel Development Strategy Review Panel.

Dr. Cunningham is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of Sigma Xi. He received an ScB degree in computer engineering from Brown University, an MS degree in electrical engineering from Boston University, and a PhD degree in cognitive and neural systems from Boston University. Since then, he has taken multiple classes in cryptography and leadership from MIT and the Harvard Kennedy School.