The UCLA Samueli School of Engineering has appointed Rafail Ostrovsky, a distinguished professor of computer science and mathematics, as the new holder of the Norman E. Friedmann Chair in the Knowledge Sciences, effective July 1.

Ostrovsky was selected for his contributions to cryptography and security, the theory of computation, and the search and classification of large-scale, high-dimensional data. He succeeds Professor Emeritus Carlo Zaniolo, who was the previous holder of the chair.

Prior to joining UCLA in 2003, Ostrovsky was a senior research scientist with Bell Communications Research. He has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the International Association for Cryptologic Research. He is also a foreign member of Academia Europaea.

Among Ostrovsky’s many accolades are the 2017 Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award from IEEE, the 2018 RSA Conference Award for Excellence in Mathematics and the  IEEE Computer Society 2022 W. Wallace McDowell Award. He holds 15 U.S. patents and has published more than 330 papers. Ostrovsky received his doctoral degree from MIT in computer science in 1992 and was a National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UC Berkeley.

At UCLA Samueli, Ostrovsky heads the multidisciplinary Center of Information and Computation Security, which aims to promote all aspects of research and education in cryptography and computer security.

Established in 1987 by a gift from Norman E. Friedmann ’50, M.S. ’52, Ph.D. ’57, the endowed chair is designed to support a faculty researcher in knowledge sciences and its allied fields of artificial intelligence, software engineering, computer-aided software engineering, distributed database systems, information sciences, and data processing and communications.

Friedmann was the UCLA Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 1973 as well as an accomplished engineer and longtime executive in the aerospace, defense and computing industries. He served in active combat in Europe during World War II as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force with his first mission on D-Day.