CS Alum Returns for Embedded Systems Security Colloquium


Arnab Ray, one of India’s most read bloggers, author of three books, and contributing writer for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, is also a proud alumnus of Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science. Ray received his PhD in Computer Science at Stony Brook in 2004; and one year later, joined the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering at the University of Maryland as a Research Scientist. For the first time since graduating from Stony Brook ten years ago, Ray stepped foot on campus on Tuesday, November 18 to give a talk on Embedded Systems Security.

“I loved Stony Brook. I walked back to Chapin, my old apartment, took a picture, and got very emotional. It looked exactly the same.” Ray said during a recent interview with Julianne Cuba from the School of Journalism. “It was almost like 10 years hadn’t happened.”

While at Stony Brook, Ray’s roommate gave him the nickname, Greatbong—which, coincidentally, has nothing to do with drug use, but with his Bengali culture, and of course, his great success. Currently, Ray is an associate adjunct professor of computer science at the University of Maryland and a senior research scientist at Fraunhofer. But in his free time, he still continues to blog, and hopes to publish his fourth book soon. Ray’s books and blogs generally take on a satirical tone about Indian culture and politics. His first blog post, about the death of an Indian website, received major coverage, kick starting his online fame. Harper Collins India approached Ray to publish his work, and by 2010, his first book, May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss, made it onto India’s bestseller list.

“I enjoy that my tech background allows me to write analytically,” Ray said. “Computer Science pays the bills, but writing is what I like to do.”

Ray’s talk, which discussed medical and automotive security that is being done at Fraunhofer, was actually held in the room that he gave his thesis defense in 10 years ago.  “That was a new room then,” Ray laughed. Within the next few years, Ray says he hopes to publish more books, and advance his computer science career; the next step for him is professor of computer science at the University of Maryland.

 For current computer science students at Stony Brook, Ray says, “Enjoy your life here. Sometimes you get tunnel vision and you think, ‘I need to write this paper.’ And you do. But there’s always great things you can do.”