Prestigious National Science Foundation Award Given to RIT Professor




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Xiaojun Cao, an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, has received the Faculty Early Career Development Program Award from the National Science Foundation.

Cao is part of the networking, security, and systems administration department in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. This award is a first-time honor for a Golisano College professor. The Faculty Early Career Development Program Award is considered the NSF’s most prestigious award for young teachers and scholars who effectively integrate research and education in support of their organization’s mission.

Cao will receive $400,000 over five years for a project investigating a new paradigm called multi-granular optical switching. Cao’s research looks at how to get massive amounts of data from one lab to another using optical networks. He will focus on the development of a switching framework to reduce the complexity, cost and size of both electronic and optical switches.

“It’s a good feeling for me to receive this kind of recognition,” says Cao. “My belief is that you work as hard as you can and you never know what will happen. I’ve put my heart and soul in to my research.”

“The college is so proud of Matt’s accomplishments,” says Jorge Díaz-Herrera, dean of the Golisano College. “This prestigious grant from the NSF is just further evidence of the caliber of Matt’s research. He has already established himself as a published researcher in the field, which is quite impressive for someone his age.”

Cao completed his Ph.D. at the University of Buffalo. Cao, 33, is only the fourth RIT faculty member to receive this award.