School of Information Sciences

Young Alumni Profile: Telecommunications alum Saman Taghavi Zargar (PhD’14) at Cisco Systems


The School of Information Sciences (iSchool) is excited to report that recent Telecommunications and Networking alum, Dr. Saman Taghavi Zargar (PhD’14), has secured a position as Software Engineer (III) at Cisco Systems. Saman will be working as part of the Security Business Group (SBG) where he will be involved in proposing secure architectures for various Cisco products and for the next generation of Internet infrastructure, a topic that has always been of interest to him. When asked what he is most looking forward to, Sam replied, “Getting to see and feel the impact of my efforts toward securing the network infrastructure in the short term.”

Sam came to the iSchool with both a B.Sc. (2004) and M.Sc. (2007) in Computer Engineering (Software Engineering) from the Azad University of Mashhad and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, respectively. He chose the iSchool for his doctoral studies “because of its unique Telecommunications and Networking program and the faculty’s research interests on network security.” Additionally, Sam noted the importance of his advisor, Dr. James Joshi, in providing him the opportunity to exercise his research interests as part of the LERSAIS lab. Sam’s research interests include network security, intrusion prevention, detection and response, security, privacy and trust issues in cloud computing environments, and distributed, mobile and pervasive/ubiquitous computing.

Although Sam’s original career goal was to become a professor at a prestigious university in the United States, the internships he undertook during his doctoral studies helped him reconsider these aspirations. Sam’s advice for current students is to complete an internship because it can teach you “where to better utilize your skill-set and how to find the satisfaction that everyone seeks in his/her job.” For students who find themselves on the job market, Sam recommends “networking with recruiters and hiring managers through LinkedIn and at academic conferences.” Additionally, recent graduates should leverage their internship experiences to obtain competitive offers and to negotiate the terms of an offer, something that many fresh grads leaving academia for industry find challenging.

Sam defended his dissertation, “Towards Coordinated, Network-wide Traffic Monitoring for Early Detection of DDoS Flooding Attacks” in June 2014. Drs. James Joshi (advisor), David Tipper, Prashant Krishnamurthy, Konstantinos Pelechrinis, and Yi Quian (University of Nebraska, Lincoln) served on his committee. While a student at the iSchool, Sam received a Cisco Research Award for his proposal “DiCoTraM: Towards a Distributed Collaborative Traffic Monitoring System” in the amount of $54,000 (August 2012-2013) and the Fritz Froehlich Award for outstanding contributions to the graduate program in Telecommunications (April 2011). Additionally, his paper “A Survey of Defense Mechanisms against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Flooding Attacks” (Impact Factor: 4.818) was listed among the Top Ten most popular articles published in IEEE Communications Society periodicals for eight months since it first appeared online (July-December 2013, January, February, April 2014). More of Sam’s research can be found on Google Scholar.

Congratulations and best wishes from the iSchool!