EE PhD Alumnus Todd Arnold Hired as Assistant Professor at U.S. Military Academy at West Point

November 12, 2020


From 2017 - 2020 Todd Arnold was in the EE PhD program as part of the networking and communications research area

He worked with Ethan Katz-Bassett, who was his advisor, as well as several masters students, interns, and other PhD students studying under Ethan.  As an active duty Army officer, Todd's funding came from the Army which imposes a three-year timeline to complete all graduation requirements, so Arnold and Katz-Bassett mapped out the requirements that Arnold had to hit along the way and worked out a research plan prior to his arrival. Sticking closely to the plan and timeline was challenging since many interesting opportunities presented themselves during my time at Columbia, but due to the limited timeline we had to make some hard decisions regarding which projects were most promising and which ones would help him move forward and stick to his timeline.  

Arnold’s primary area of research was on cloud networking. Large cloud providers including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM host many Internet services. As they have grown, they have expanded their networks around the world. Arnold's dissertation drew from papers he led at the conferences ACM IMC 2020, IEEE INFOCOM 2020, and ACM HotNets 2019, in which he and his collaborators uncovered the interconnections between these large cloud providers and client networks around the world, as well as the performance implications of using these expanding cloud networks to bypass the traditional Internet hierarchy when delivering Internet services. "As more and more of what we all do depends on these cloud providers, understanding their infrastructures and performance is increasingly important," Katz-Bassett said. "However, they are invisible to traditional measurement techniques, and so Todd led our research to develop new techniques to help the research community understand this incredibly important setting." Todd's dissertation also includes his work on the PEERING testbed, joint work with Katz-Bassett, another PhD student Brandon Schlinker, and UFMG Brazil professor / Columbia associate research scientist Italo Cunha. The testbed lets researchers conduct experiments that interact with the actual Internet, including large cloud providers, and to experiment in a setting that approximates cloud providers.

He is now working as a lead research scientist at the Army Cyber Institute, and as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), both at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.  His team of six researchers is focused on advancing the Army's understanding of the cyber domain and integrating cyber capabilities into military operations.

Arnold is also teaching the Computer Organization course, which teaches students the implications of the hardware, operating system, and compiler on programs.  Students learn about x86-64 assembly, compilers, pipelining, code optimization, the memory hierarchy, and process creation through coding and reverse engineering projects. 

“The support and teamwork from my advisor, other faculty and committee members (Gil Zussman, Henning Schulzrinne, Debasis Mitra, and Asaf Cidon), fellow students, and the EE staff was instrumental in being able to finish in three years. They made my time at Columbia a very positive experience, and I am extremely appreciative to each of them,” Arnold said about his time in the EE department at Columbia University.