Paola Flocchini


Paola Flocchini
Professor and holder of the University Research Chair on Intruder Agents and the Decontamination of Communication Networks

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Paola Flocchini


University Research Chair on Intruder Agents and the Decontamination of Communication Networks

Faculty of Engineering
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Research Focus

The algorithmic problems arising in possible unsafe, distributed environments with mobile computational entities, and the proposal of strategies and solutions to cope with related network security issues.

Research Relevance

'Cookies' and 'spyware' are both examples of mobile software agents that can challenge the security environment of a networked system such as the internet. Understanding the security issues that intruder agents pose could be a first step towards the proposal of an effective solution to "clean" the internet and other such distributed and networked environments.

Intruder Agents: The Challenge of Decontaminating Our Networks

The problem of maintaining a secure environment in distributed systems like the internet is becoming an increasingly urgent issue to deal with – cookies and spyware are both examples of mobile software agents that can threaten the stability of such modern communication networks.

Dr. Paola Flocchini is an internationally recognized scholar whose work in the area of distributed mobile agents has made significant contributions to the critical issue of security in networked environments under the threat of viruses, spyware, and harmful hosts. While the methodology of her work belongs to the realm of theoretical computer science, Dr. Flocchini is motivated by the practical issues and considerations of evolving communication technologies. Drawing on continued technical contributions, international visibility and the support that comes from a variety of funding sources, her proposed research with mobile agents shows great promise of developing effective methods (currently nonexistent) for countering the spread of these "intruder" agents and thus establishing a solid first step towards "cleaning" networked environments.

Dr. Flocchini's work has been instrumental to several innovations that have advanced our understanding of distributed computations and distributed computability. Her research on sense of direction, a property of labelled graphs which has been found to have major impacts on complexity and computational ability in communication systems, has been particularly influential – it has attracted a lot of attention in recent years and generated a substantial amount of follow-up in the international research community.

Awards and Accomplishments

  • Premier's Research Excellence Award (2003).
  • Ontario Premier's Research Excellence Award (PREA), 2002
  • NATO Advanced Research Fellowship, 1996
  • Associate Editor, "New Generation Computing" (Springer Verlag) since 1997
  • Author of over 90 full papers in refereed journals and international conferences
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