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Volume 4, Issue 1
March 2005

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ACM Honors Inventors of Landmark Software Concept

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Software System Award Citation

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ACM has given the 2004 Software System Award to Secure Network Programming (SNP), the first secure sockets layer for Internet applications, aimed at achieving secure network programming for widespread use. SNP was designed and implemented by Raghuram Bindignavle, Simon Lam, Shaowen Su, and Thomas Y.C. Woo in 1993, while at the University of Texas at Austin Networking Research Laboratory. Their work was funded by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. The Software System Award is given to an institution or individual(s) recognized for developing software systems that have had a lasting influence, reflected in contributions to concepts and/or commercial acceptance. This award carries a $10,000 prize, and financial support for the award is provided by IBM.

The recipients invented secure sockets as a high-level approach to securing Internet applications. In 1993, they designed and prototyped the first secure sockets layer, named SNP, which provides a user interface closely resembling sockets. Their goal was to enable existing socket programs to be retrofitted with appropriate security measures with only minor modifications. SNP also encapsulates security-sensitive information, which prevents accidental or intentional disclosure by an application program.

Many of the design choices in SNP can be found in today's secure sockets layers used between browsers and Internet servers. For example, the secure sockets layer SSL, later designed and built by Netscape, is widely used for securing communications between browsers and servers, as well as other Internet applications.

Raghuram Bindignavle is a consultant on Linux-based and wireless technologies of use to large swaths of rural India that are not covered by traditional land lines. Prior to returning to India, he worked in various software companies in the US. He received a B.E. degree in Computer Science at the Regional Engineering College of the University of Allahabad in India. He earned an M.A. degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Simon S. Lam is Professor and Regents Chair in Computer Sciences, and Director of the Networking Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been on the faculty since 1977. He served as department chair from 1992 to 1994. He received a B.S.E.E. degree from Washington State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from UCLA. From 1971 to 1974, he was a Postgraduate Research Engineer at UCLA's ARPA Network Measurement Center. From 1974 to 1977, he was a Research Staff Member at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. He served as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking from 1995 to 1999. An ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow, Dr. Lam received the 2004 W. Wallace McDowell Award from the IEEE Computer Society and the 2004 ACM SIGCOMM Award. He is a co-recipient of the 1975 Leonard G. Abraham Prize and the 2001 William R. Bennett Prize from IEEE Communications Society.

Shaowen Su is Managing Director of Zero2ipo Ltd., a financial advisory services and investment management firm in China. From 2003 to 2004, he was CFO of Todaytech Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. Mr. Su was General Manager of China Operations at ACR Ventures, a Hong Kong-based venture capital company, and was selected as one of the "most active VCs of the year" in 2001 by Digital Fortune magazine. His experience includes software development and marketing in the US with National Instruments, Intel, and NEC. Mr. Su received a Bachelor of Physics degree from Peking University and an M.S. in Computer Science from University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas Y.C. Woo, a Director at Bell Labs, heads the Mobile Networking and Internet Management Research Laboratory. He previously headed the Bell Labs Networking Systems Research Department. In between, he spent two years at RedWave Networks, a Silicon Valley startup, as Chief Network Architect and Vice President of Software Engineering. Woo has received more than 10 U.S. patents, and has served on the program committee of ACM SIGCOMM. He is an Editor of IEEE Wireless Communications and was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a B.Sc. degree in Computer Science (First Class Honor) from the University of Hong Kong, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

ACM will present these and other awards at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on June 11, 2005, in San Francisco.


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Last Updated: March 22, 2005 by Edwin Rodriguez
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