College of Engineering News Room

USF Department of Electrical Engineering Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award to Improve Wireless Networking and Security

The National Science Foundation CAREER award is “the most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization” as described by NSF. Department of Electrical Engineering Professor Zhuo Lu won a CAREER award this March and said it will support his current research in improving the performance and security of wireless networks.

“The CAREER award is, on one hand, a reflection of the quality of our research conducted here at USF, and on the other hand, provides relatively long-term research support integrated with education for us,” Lu said. “This helps me advance the goals of conducting high-quality research and education in the areas of wireless network systems and security. I am happy to receive it.”

Lu leads the Communications, Security, and Analytics Lab at USF, currently comprised of seven graduate engineering students and focused on wireless and mobile system design and security, Internet security and machine learning and AI in network security. Lab sponsors include the U.S. Department of Energy, NSF, U.S. Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research and Cyber Florida.

Lu said that the CAREER award supports the lab’s efforts to collect and analyze large amounts of networking data for creating new approaches to more efficiently allocate wireless network resources and identify and eliminate malicious behavior. This project also includes designing materials to better educate engineering students on advanced wireless networking properties and design.

“Wireless networking has already become an essential part of daily life,” Lu said. “Many of us use cellular and Wi-Fi networks every day, and their design is complicated as there are many factors to consider — such as data speed, coverage, reliability and security.”

As a researcher, Lu’s work has been broadly centered around network science, cyber security, data analytics, wireless and mobile communication networking, and cyber-physical systems. With this latest CAREER award, he joins more than 30 College of Engineering faculty members whose research furthers the mission of USF. He has received five other NSF awards over the years and is a senior IEEE member.

“I thank my students for all their hard work — they are fantastic — as well as the department and the college for their continuous support,” Lu said.