July 12, 2010 — abhi shelat, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, was recently selected as a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow for 2010.
The fellowship award includes an unrestricted cash gift of $200,000 and access to other Microsoft resources, such as software, invitations to conferences and engagements with Microsoft Research, the company's worldwide research organization.
shelat will use the award to support his research in the field of computer cryptography, which is essential for securing information that is exchanged on everything from wireless networks to automated teller machines to Internet banking sites.
"This award recognizes abhi's brilliance as a researcher and it will help him advance his work in the field of cryptography," said Mary Lou Soffa, chair of the U.Va. Department of Computer Science. "We are honored to have him as a colleague."
This year was particularly competitive because Microsoft combined the domestic and international competitions for the awards. There were only seven fellows chosen from Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; the United States; and Canada.
"abhi possesses a rare combination of vision and creativity that enables him to select highly original research topics that are both theoretically significant as well as applicable in practice," said Gabriel Robins, a professor in the Department of Computer Science. "I found it refreshing that abhi also cares a great deal about teaching and pedagogy. We often have long conversations and exchange ideas about how to better explain to students deep and subtle theoretical concepts."