Justine Sherry wins 2020 VMWare Systems Research Award

Byron Spice

Dec 16, 2020

Justine Sherry

Source: Carnegie Mellon University CyLab

Assistant Professor Justine Sherry has won the 2020 VMWare Systems Research Award for her seminal contributions to the networking field.

CyLab’s Justine Sherry, an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department (CSD), is the winner of the 2020 VMWare Systems Research Award, in recognition of her seminal contributions to the field of networking.

VMWare presents the award each year to an early-career faculty member who is within their first five years of their first tenure-track appointment. It includes a $125,000 award to support her research.

“Justine has pursued a coherent and impactful research agenda with interesting problem formulations, ambitious systems projects, and heavy lifting," said Ole Agesen, a VMWare fellow and a member of the selection committee. "These are also characteristics that the award is meant to celebrate."

Sherry is known for early and influential work to identify and drive a research agenda around network “middleboxes.” Middleboxes are deployed to perform in-band packet processing functions ranging from network address translation to security inspection to load balancing to firewalling. As recently as a decade ago, the role of middleboxes was underappreciated, but her research showed that they comprise as much as a third of deployed infrastructure.

One of her key contributions was the idea that middlebox function could be deployed in the cloud rather than in dedicated physical components. "Network Functions Virtualization," or NFV, has since become a $12 billion market and she continues to make well-rounded contributions to the field.

Justine’s work shows an aspect of fearlessness.

Srinivasan Seshan, Department Head, Computer Science Department

“Justine’s work shows an aspect of fearlessness," said Srinivasan Seshan, CSD head. "She does a great job with problems that are risky or could take a long time to pay off, making them work out, and seeing where they will go.”

Sherry joined CSD in 2016. She earned her master's and Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a recipient of the SIGCOMM doctoral dissertation award, the David J. Sakrison prize and a number of best paper awards.