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CCI Assistant Professor Maxwell Young Receives NSF Grant for Resource-Competitive Algorithms Project

September 24, 2014

Maxwell Young , PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for his project “Resource-Competitive Algorithms for Building Robust Distributed Systems,” through the NSF’s Division of Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF).

The grant ($204,403 over 2 years) will support the exploration of resource-competitive algorithms for their use in designing decentralized networks. These algorithms provide guarantees on the cost (in terms of CPU cycles, bandwidth and energy) to a correct device as a function of the cost incurred by faulty devices which suffer crashes or even exhibit malicious behavior.

By quantifying this cost relationship, practitioners can use these algorithms to provision networks with sufficient resources to tolerate otherwise catastrophic failures. Furthermore, in many cases, it is even possible to guarantee that faulty devices will deplete their respective resources much faster than correct devices; therefore, any disruption to the network will be short lived.

Young’s research will particularly focus on the fundamental problems of multiple access protocols, interactive computation in the presence of silent faults, Sybil attacks in open systems, and consensus in noisy environments. The project’s results should find application in the areas of MAC-protocol design for highly-dynamic networks, high-performance computing and peer-to-peer and wireless sensor networks.

Young, who joined Drexel faculty in 2013, focuses his research on the design and analysis of algorithms for decentralized networks that yield provable guarantees with respect to security, fault tolerance and performance. He earned his doctorate in computer science from the University of Waterloo; a master of science degree (with distinction) in computer science from the University of New Mexico; a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of British Columbia; and a bachelor of science (Hons.) first class in mathematics from Queen’s University.

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