Alumnus William Sanders appointed Dean of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering

Sanders has spent the past 25 years of his career at the University of Illinois, working on secure and dependable computing and security for critical infrastructures.

William Sanders Enlarge
William Sanders

William H. Sanders (BSE CE ’83, MSE CICE ’85, PhD CSE ’88), the Herman M. Dieckamp Endowed Chair in Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the interim director of the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in the University of Illinois System, has been appointed as the next dean of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, effective January 1, 2020.

Sanders has spent the past 25 years of his career at Illinois in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Computer Science. His research interests include secure and dependable computing and security, as well as resiliency metrics and evaluation, with a focus on critical infrastructures. He has published more than 270 technical papers in those areas. Sanders has also directed work at the forefront of national efforts to make the US power grid smart and resilient.

He was the co-developer of three tools for assessing computer-based systems: METASAN, UltraSAN, and Möbius. Möbius and UltraSAN have been distributed widely to industry and academia; more than 2,700 licenses for the tools have been issued to universities, companies, and NASA for evaluating the performance, dependability, and security of a variety of systems. He is also a co-developer of a tool for assessing the security of networked systems that is available commercially under the name NP-View from the startup company Network Perception, which he co-founded.

Beyond his significant scholarly record, he was the founding director of the University of Illinois’ Information Trust Institute in 2004, growing its faculty to more than 100 and attracting $80 million in external research funding by 2011. Sanders then served as director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory from 2010-2014 and was head of the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2014-2018. He also co-founded the Advanced Digital Sciences Center in Singapore in 2009, which is Illinois’ first international research facility.

As interim director of DPI for the past year, Sanders led the joint education, research and innovation institute in its efforts to drive technology-based economic growth. Backed by a $500 million appropriation from the state and more than $400 million in private funding, DPI spans three universities and includes eight other academic partners.

“CMU’s College of Engineering has a unique culture that is interdisciplinary to the core and breaks traditional disciplinary boundaries to yield impactful, world-changing results,” Sanders said in a CMU press release. “I am humbled and honored to serve as the next dean of engineering and look forward to working collaboratively across the college and university to create major research and education initiatives that will raise engineering’s impact and stature to new heights worldwide.”

Sanders is an elected fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As a PhD student at U-M he was advised by Prof. John F. Meyer.

His awards include the 2016 IEEE Technical Field Award, Innovation in Societal Infrastructure, for “assessment-driven design of trustworthy cyber infrastructures for societal-scale systems.” Sanders is also an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Network Perception Inc.