Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Steve Bellovin

Software and the Problem of Complexity


Tuesday, February 14, 2017
6:00–8:00 p.m. 
Davis Auditorium

Software seems straightforward to write: it's just a set of comparatively simple instructions. In fact, it's extremely difficult to write correct programs. This—probably a fundamental property that will never change—is at the heart of many dilemmas in our society, including cybersecurity, privacy, and encryption.


Professor Steve Bellovin is a full professor in the Computer Science Department at Columbia and an expert on cybersecurity.  He completed his B.A. at Columbia College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on networks, security and why the two don't get along, and he has recently become interested in nuclear weapons command and control. As a graduate student he helped create USENET, an early networking and discussion system, for which he and his collaborators were awarded a Usenix Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes and celebrates singular contributions to the Unix community in both intellectual achievement and service.  He has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering and was awarded the 2007 NIST/NSA National Computer Systems Security Award. Professor Bellovin is co-author of Firewalls and Internet Security: Repelling the Wily Hacker, the second edition of which has just been published. He has been a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee of the Department of Homeland Security since 2005 and is a member of the Technical Guidelines Development Committee of the Election Assistance Commission. In September 2012, he became Chief Technologist of the Federal Trade Commission. 

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