Stellar Student Wins Upsilon Pi Epsilon Award

Winning Streak Continues for Norwich University Senior

Karthik RamanNorwich University senior, Karthik Raman, is the kind of student you meet and wonder: how did he get that smart? Maybe his parents played Mozart while he napped. Perhaps the heavens were in auspicious alignment on the day of his birth in Jamshedpur, India. One thing is sure, however: Raman inherited a passion for learning, and he is racking up the points at the nation’s first private military college in Northfield, Vermont.

Raman is a role model of academic excellence. As a University Scholar, he has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and recently he was appointed as a Presidential Fellow by the Division of Business and Management.

The winner of the Cisco Systems Information Assurance Scholarship this summer, Raman continues to add to his portfolio. His most recent success came last week, when he received one of only two 2005 Upsilon Pi Epsilon awards, worth $1,000. The UPE is an international honor society for students in the computing and information fields. Raman was selected based on academic performance, faculty recommendation and his contribution to the IT profession.

Raman will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Information Assurance and a triple minor in Computer Forensics, Engineering Science and Mathematics. After receiving his degree, Raman will enroll in a computer science Doctoral program at a topflight U.S. institution.

In 2001, while visiting relatives in Rochester, VT, Raman learned about Norwich University.

“I looked around the area and discovered this school in the hills of Vermont. I came here for the reputable computer security and information assurance program, as well as solid courses in computer science and math,” he said.

Although he’s far from home, Raman sees his family every summer. His mother, father and brother live in Muscat, Oman, a modern Arab state in the Middle East. His younger brother also plans to attend a college in the United States.

What may seem arcane to many of us is everyday fare for Raman. His study interests include cryptology -- the science of secret writing and code deciphering, which he says is the cornerstone to any security application. Raman also researches intrusion detection: the ability to detect whether a network has been breached by a hacker or code cracker.

Raman is currently at work on his third Independent Study Project, to find ways of converting network activity into sound bytes. Yes, that’s right: he will be able to identify network attacks based on the sounds that accompany infiltrators as they hack their way into a system.

“It is cutting-edge stuff,” said Dr. M.E. Kabay, Director of the Information Assurance Program at Norwich University. “Let’s say your network sounds like Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, and then a hacker breaks in. Suddenly, you hear sounds of a different kind, say, heavy metal. Karthik’s work may eventually allow system administrators to hear when an intruder is trying to infiltrate the network, by the dissonant sounds they make,” said Professor Kabay, Ph.D., CISSP.

As his advisor, Professor Kabay knows Raman well.

“The most amazing aspect of advising Karthik is his sheer likeability; not only is he brilliant, creative and funny, he is a genuinely caring human being who goes out of his way to help other students. I admire his service to the community as a peer tutor. He loves helping other people learn,” said Dr. Kabay.

Raman is active in various campus clubs, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE); ACM SIGSAC (computer security club) and the International Student Organization (ISO). He is a member of the Residential Life Staff, working as an assistant resident coordinator, managing the RAs in Dodge Hall.

In 2002, Raman helped found the Norwich Student Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and served as its President for one year. In 2004, the Norwich Chapter won the ACM Award for Outstanding School Service.

“It’s a place to exchange ideas and have fun. We host gaming parties. In fact, we’ll be having one in Plumley Armory on November 11 and 12. Anyone interested in gaming can come in, buy a ticket, and play computer games for twelve hours straight,” Raman said.

For more information about gaming parties at Norwich, contact Professor Stephen Fitzhugh (ACM Chapter Advisor) at sfitzhug@norwich.edu.