In recognition of Professor Jonathan S. Turner's many achievements and research contributions, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering established the Turner Dissertation Award upon his retirement in 2014. Through the generous support of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends, the award will be presented annually to the author of the best doctoral dissertation. A committee selects awardees based on dissertation nominations from the previous calendar year.

2021 Award

Liang Tong

Title: Toward Deploying Robust Machine Learning Systems

"The 2021 Turner Dissertation Award was awarded to Liang Tong for his significant contributions to the fields of artificial intelligence and computer security. Liang studies the design and implementation of robust machine learning systems under adversarial environments. His thesis proposed theoretical models and algorithms that address four research questions, namely adversarial evaluation, robust learning against decision-time attacks, robust alert prioritization, and robust decentralized learning. Liang’s work not only is well recognized in the research community, as evident in his publication in top AI and security venues such as AAAI, ICML, ICLR, CVPR, INFOCOM and USENIX Security, but also has made an impact in industry through his collaboration with NEC Labs." 


Jonathan S. Turner Biography

Professor Turner was one of WashU's first students to earn a 3-2 dual degree in both computer science and electrical engineering in 1977, and continued his education to earn his MS and PhD in computer science from Northwestern University in 1979 and 1982. He returned to WashU in 1983 as an assistant professor, and served as Chair of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering from 1992-1997 and again from 2007-2008. He established the Advanced Networks Group and co-founded the WashU Applied Research Laboratory. The lab's research led to the development of the start-up company Growth Networks, which was acquired by Cisco System in 2000.

Professor Turner has been awarded 30 patents for his work on switching systems and has many widely-cited publications. In 2007, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1994, he was awarded the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award, and in 2000, the IEEE Millennium Medal. Washington University has awarded him two of its highest honors: the Founder's Day Distinguished Faculty Award, and the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award. Professor Turner has also received two Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards from the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Professor Turner retired from the full-time faculty in 2014, but continues to work on selected research projects.