ULFAR ERLINGSSON: Hi. I'm Ulfar Erlingsson. I was here in the graduate program in the Computer Science Department at Cornell in the '90s, and I'm now with Google. My Cornell education, basically, has shaped my entire career.
So I've done a number of things. I've been a professor. I've done startups. I worked for an industrial research lab. And I now work for Google, where I run a security research group doing research in computer security topics.
And I would say that my Cornell PhD education has been absolutely critical to all aspects of every position I've held. Even the topics. So computer security is something I started working on.
I'm really a systems and programming language person by nature. But computer security is a big problem, and both systems methods and programming language methods are applicable there. And so that's basically consumed most of my career. I should also note that very influential in my career was an internship that I did at the Digital Equipment Corporation Systems Research Center in the late '90s. And that's, again, a connection that I would not have been able to make if it had not been for my role then as a graduate student at Cornell, and the connections that the professors had to that industrial research lab.
Now, as to why I would hire a person from Cornell, I would say a top-tier education and the fact that if it's-- I mostly hire PhDs. So already, the level of incoming PhD students at Cornell is very high. And then the education they get and the people they get to work with is absolutely stellar. And this is both on the formal side, which Cornell is quite well-known for. Actually thinking about things in a principled fashion.
So my adviser, Fred Schneider, is famous for pushing people to do their thinking in a principled way, and not an unprincipled manner. But also simply in terms of systems. And so I think it's a phenomenally strong systems group and programming language group that we have here with [INAUDIBLE] Nate Foster, Andrew, etc.
And so students that actually have worked with those people and built real working artifacts. And that's, again, a running theme in the work in both the programming language and systems groups. They're trying to build useful artifacts, not just get papers published. Those are exactly the type of people we like to hire at Google.
In terms of how the Computer and Information Science is evolving at Cornell, I think Cornell has done a really fantastic job spearheading the integration of all of the sciences, and even some of the arts, with computing in a way that other departments and universities have followed and should follow. And I see that as computing is becoming intrinsic to almost everything. So even in the liberal arts, big data type techniques are really groundbreaking for a lot of the types of investigations that you want to look at. Like how did these ideas get propagated over time, and so on, are exactly the types of investigations that big data can be very helpful with.
And then you really have to know how to use computers. And so therefore, you really want to bring computing to the entire university. And I think Cornell has done a fantastic job there and really spearheaded that trend in the US, at least.
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During a recent visit to Gates Hall, Cornell computer science PhD alum Úlfar Erlingsson talked about CIS, his experience at Cornell, and why he hires Cornell grads. Erlingsson is head of the Security Research Group at Google.