Michael Farrell is Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) at Georgia Tech. He is responsible for coordinating applied research & development (R&D) in cyber, info security, risk, and privacy across the Georgia Tech ecosystem. Michael guides interdisciplinary teams that develop mission-ready systems, conduct policy analysis, and do many things in between. His approach leverages diverse perspectives from business and legal, not just engineering and computer science. The software and hardware solutions delivered span a wide range of customer requirements in cloud and on-premises in both the enterprise information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) space, including industrial control systems (ICS) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Convergence of IT and OT as well as hybrid architectures for cloud and on-premises present especially unique security challenges. Machine learning (AI/ML) and data science feature prominently in solutions, as these are often needed to build analytics from very large data lakes.
In addition to his leadership position at the IISP, Farrell is Principal Research Engineer in the GT School of Electrical Engineering and at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) with 2,300 employees.
Government customers span the national security, defense, and homeland security communities. Industry customers come from energy, finance, tech, industrials & automation, transportation and media companies. These range in size from global multi-nationals to Silicon Valley start-ups.
Previously Michael served in a number of technical operations roles within the US national security community as a government civilian, and began his support to defense & national security projects as a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He also was Director of Engineering for a cyber security software startup and began his career at Intel Corporation doing microelectronics fabrication in the cleanroom on Pentium chips.
Michael has earned numerous awards, including special honors from the US Government for extraordinary work in a team and also for individual research. Michael is a GTRI Fellow; the highest technical distinction given by Georgia Tech for excellence in applied research & development. In 2017 he received the Outstanding Program Development Award, Georgia Tech’s recognition for building the largest portfolio of customer-sponsored programs (e.g. most competitively won external funding). Then in 2018 he received GTRI’s Innovation Excellence Award for novel research in data science applications to computer network security.
In his spare time, Michael advises several tech companies and volunteers on external activities or advisory boards. These include the Intelligence Community Studies Board and Naval Studies Board, both run by National Academies of Science (NAS), and DARPA’s Info Science and Technology (ISAT) study group. Michael is a Senior Member of the IEEE, Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE Honor Society), a certified information systems security professional (CISSP), and member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).
Michael has many peer-reviewed publications in network security, software engineering and data modeling. He has delivered numerous keynotes and run several conferences on both technology and policy for cyber security, and currently chairs a US intelligence agency’s workshop series on machine learning (ML).
He holds a Masters and a Ph.D in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech.