Meet SCI’s New Faculty: Amy Babay

Name: Amy Babay
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Department of Informatics and Networked Systems; Department of Computer Science

What are your research interests?
My general research interests are in distributed systems and networking. Dependability is a major theme of my work: as our world grows more connected and complex, making sure that the distributed systems that power so many aspects of our lives today are always available and working as expected becomes more and more crucial. I’m especially interested in how we can ensure that the critical infrastructure systems our society relies on are resilient to failures and attacks — one focus of my recent work has been building SCADA systems for the power grid that can continue to work correctly even after an attacker has managed to hack into the system and gain control of part of it. At the same time, I’m really excited about the performance side of things and how we can develop new network protocols to provide faster, more reliable communication and enable levels of interactivity that were never possible before, for things like immersive virtual reality collaboration with people across the globe.

Why did you choose to come to SCI?
I think SCI is an incredibly exciting place to be right now! The opportunity to be part of building up the new school and play a role in all of the exciting changes that are happening now was a big factor in my decision to come here. I love that the school takes the “making the world a better place” part of its mission seriously, and I think that the broad perspective of the SCI as a whole across the three departments makes it really well positioned to actually do that. Of course, being able to collaborate with the outstanding faculty already in the school, join an awesome cohort of energetic new faculty, and live in the great city of Pittsburgh are all plusses too!

How does your teaching/ research align with SCI’s mission?
I see my research on the dependability of complex distributed systems as very much in line with SCI’s mission of making the world a better place through the science of interacting systems: I work to build practical systems that address real-world problems and to make sure that the infrastructure systems that run our society can be relied on to work as expected. On the teaching front, I’m interested in finding ways to help undergraduates learn how to use their technical skills to help address real problems in their communities; I co-created a Software for Resilient Communities class at Johns Hopkins that worked toward that, and I’d love to do something similar here at Pitt in the coming semesters.