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Graduate student wins award for paper

Doctoral student Alexander Volynkin, who helped to develop a new way of detecting computer viruses, received recognition for his work when a paper he wrote captured a prestigious prize.

Volynkin was on a team that received the Best Paper Award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Information Assurance Workshop held this summer at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. His co-authors were faculty members Victor Skormin and Douglas Summerville, his doctoral advisers, and graduate student James Moronski.

“I just love the concept of being a member of the ‘good guys’ team participating in the arms race that takes place in the field of computer security,” said Volynkin, 26, of Siberia. His method tests software’s ability to self-replicate, an approach that has the capability to detect previously unknown malicious computer codes.

Volynkin, who holds a master’s degree from Siberian State Industrial University as well as a master’s in computer science from Binghamton, expects to receive his doctorate in computer engineering next year. He credits his mother, who holds a Ph.D., with offering crucial help and support.

Volynkin teaches a class he designed focusing on computer viruses and malicious software. The course, for both undergrads and graduate students, also draws students from local industry. He prides himself on constantly updating the class materials to address new threats and vulnerabilities of computers.

“Alex puts in 80 hours per week on his studies, and I’m not kidding,” Skormin said. “This is his hobby, this is his work, this is his love and this is his main interest in life.”

Why work so hard? “What keeps me motivated every day,” Volynkin said, “is the understanding that both computer security professionals as well as the ‘bad guys’ work constantly, day and night, all over the world. If I skip one day of work, I will be one day behind the rest of the world.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08