“My computer,” said Perry Alexander, Ph.D., AT&T Foundation Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Institute for Information Sciences at the University of Kansas. “It reminds me of where we’ve been and where we’ve come. I have lived through computing basically changing the entire world.”
Alexander has been part of shaping the future of technological advances as a KU faculty member for nearly 25 years. His students inspire him to be the teacher and researcher he is today. “Watching my students achieve the things they set out to achieve, that's what it's about. I love my research, and I appreciate my research accomplishments and achievements, but I always think about who I was working with at the time.”
Authoring and co-authoring more than 130 publications throughout his career, Alexander has used his experience and research to develop the next generation of information technology. His favorite research project was the National Security Agency Science of Security Lablet. This project was one of six such funded projects in the world, bringing together a powerful community of researchers and students.
Alexander is inspired to enhance and educate the technological world for the community and his students. He focuses on research projects, formal verification and synthesis, trusted systems and programming language semantics. Research allows Alexander to explore his creativity and develop technologically advanced systems. As a part of an Arts Research Initiative fellowship with the Spencer Museum, Alexander worked with artists Stephanie Dinkins and Simon Denny to explore blockchain as an artistic medium rather than solely being an information carrier.
Private support has helped the KU Institute for Information Sciences flourish in research, education and opportunities. Because of a gift from Ripple, Alexander and students are working on the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI). This initiative provides resources for faculty and future tech leaders to explore new ideas such as biodiversity data, blockchain infrastructure and blockchain as art. “The grant has changed the world for us. We can do things and explore things that we just could not do before.”
Alexander is also the principal investigator leading the interdisciplinary research team for the Securing Our Worlds: Physical, Digital, Social project that received one of four $3 million awards in KU’s Research Rising competition. The team will be focused on creating more secure and resilient communities. “Support helps our students focus on their research and allows me to see and interesting idea that we don’t have government funding for yet grow into something that does result in funded research. It helps build our community.”