Robert K. Cunningham

Rob Cunningham

Dr. Robert K. Cunningham
Lincoln Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cyber Systems and Technology Group
244 Wood Street
Lexington, MA 02420-9108
voice: 781-981-7581
fax: 781-981-0186


Dr. Robert K. Cunningham is the leader of the Cyber Systems and Technology Group and is responsible for initiating and managing research and development programs in information assurance and computer and platform security.

From 1985 to 1987, Dr. Cunningham worked at Raytheon, designing and developing a parallel and distributed operating system for the next generation weather radar system. After completing his master's degree in 1988, he became a staff member of the Machine Intelligence Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where his research focused on machine learning, digital image processing and image and video understanding. As part of this effort, he contributed to early drafts of the real-time message passing interface (MPI/RT) specification. In early 1998 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 to consider detection and analysis of malicious software. Most recently he has become interested in the design of tamper resistant systems.  Throughout his time in the Group, he has been interested in evaluating the performance of security systems.  Dr. Cunningham has patented security-related technology, presented and published widely, and has served as general chair for RAID and the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, and as Chair or on program committees for RAID, WORM, IEEE HST, and the IEEE S&P, among others.

Dr. Cunningham has also served on several national panels and led many national teams.  In 2001, Dr. Cunningham led the research working group for the NSA's computer network defense research and technology transition program manager, and received a commendation for his work from the director. In 2002 he participated in a study for DARPA developing a research program to detect and quarantine computer worms. In 2004, he was elected to the executive committee of the Institute for Information Protection (I3P), and later that year he was appointed to the executive advisory board for the Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA—now IARPA) organization. In 2005 through 2009, Dr. Cunningham managed a large, multi-institution research effort to secure process control systems for the I3P and the Department of Homeland Security.  In 2011 and 2012, he served as the Lincoln representative to the US DoD’s Priority Steering Council on Cyber Security Research and Development.  In 2013, he served on the US Army Cyber Materiel Development Strategy Review Panel.  Dr. Cunningham is a member of Sigma Xi and a senior member of the IEEE.

Dr. Cunningham received an ScB degree in computer engineering from Brown University in 1985, an MS degree in electrical engineering from Boston University in 1988, and a PhD degree in cognitive and neural systems from Boston University in 1998.

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