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Kenneth Paul Birman

  • Kenneth Paul Birman
  • Dept: Computer Science
  • Title: N. Rama Rao Professor of Computer Science
  • Address: Room 4119B Upson Hall
  • Phone: 607 255-9199
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Ken Birman joined Cornell after receiving his PhD degree from U.C. Berkeley in Computer Science. He currently holds the N. Rama Rao Chair in Computer Science. A researcher in distributed systems, Birman focuses on high assurance applications; his work has been used in settings that include the New York Stock Exchange, French Air Traffic Control System and US Navy AEGIS. During the 2010 reporting period he received the IEEE Kanai Award for his contributions to distributed computing and the IEEE TPDS Outstanding Achievement award. He is also an ACM Fellow.

During the reporting period, in addition to the awards just mentioned, Professor Birman published a number of papers on a new approach to high assurance in cloud computing settings and worked on a system he is creating, Isis2, that assists developers in creating new applications of this kind. He also participated in a number of conference program committees, and has worked with the Air Force, NSF, DARPA and ARPA-e on a variety of studies aimed at understanding how best to exploit cloud computing in sensitive settings.

Birman is a member of the Computer Science graduate field.

Teaching Interests

My teaching focus is in the area of computer systems, notably for the cloud. I've revamped the CS514 class to create our very popular CS5412 Cloud Computing graduate course. In spring of 2011 I taught a one-time class on "consistency models" at cloud scale; one of my papers came out of the insights gained in this latter role. More broadly, I continue to teach CS2110 from time to time, and to rotate through CS6410 and CS4410 in addition to CS5412.

Selected Publications

  • Freedman, Daniel A., Tudor Marian, Kenneth Paul Birman, Hakim Weatherspoon. 2010. "Exact temporal characterization of 10 Gbps optical wide-area network." Melbourne, Australia November.
  • Surton, R., Kenneth Paul Birman, R. van Renesse. 2013. "Non-Stop Routing for BGP with Application-Driven TCP Recovery." Paper presented at Distributed Systems and Networks (DSN), Budapest, June.
  • Maheshwari, K., Kenneth Paul Birman, J. M. Wozniakz, D. Van Zandty. 2013. "Evaluating Cloud Computing Techniques for Smart Power Grid Design Using Parallel Scripting."
  • Maheshwari, K., M. Lim, L. Wan, Kenneth Paul Birman, R. van Renese. 2013. "Toward reliable, secure and fault tolerant smart grid state estimation in the cloud." Paper presented at Proceedings of IEEE/PES ISGT
  • Vigfusson, Y., Kenneth Paul Birman, D. A. Freedman, Q. Huang, K. Jonsson, G. Sigurbjornsson. 2012. "Live Network Streaming with Utilities and Cost." Paper presented at LADIS'12, Madeira, July (3rd Quarter/Summer).

Selected Awards and Honors

  • IEEE Technical Committee on Distributed Processing Outstanding Achievement Award 2009
  • Research Visionary Award (Cisco Corporation) 2008
  • IEEE Senior Member (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 2012
  • IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award 2009
  • Appointed N. Rama Rao Professor of Computer Science 2009



  • BS (Computer & Information Science), Columbia University, 1978
  • MS (Computer & Information Science), University of California-Berkeley, 1979
  • Ph D (Computer & Information Science), University of California- Berkeley, 1981