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Farahmandi Named Walden C. Rhines Endowed Professor for Hardware Security

Dr. Farimah Farahmandi, ECE Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) at the University of Florida, has been named as the inaugural Walden C. Rhines Endowed Professor for Hardware Security. She is the first ever Assistant Professor that has been bestowed with this distinction. The endowment will support Dr. Farahmandi’s research program, focused on hardware security verification and validation, by extending it to AI-based approaches to ensuring the security in microelectronics in pre and post fabrication stages. She is globally known for her pioneering research in the field of security verification. Her research will result in establishing security, safety, and reliability of system-on-chips (SoCs) and system-in-packages (SiPs) deployed to modern critical industrial and DoD applications. 

Dr. Walden Rhines, who is continuing his father’s philosophy that “outstanding people want to work with other outstanding people,” created this endowment to support Dr. Farahmandi’s research and to support the department’s vision of growing security and trust in modern microelectronics that impacts our everyday’s life. Dr. Mark Tehranipoor, ECE Department Chair states, “Receiving such a prestigious endowment at this early part of her career, while usually this endowment is reserved for much more senior faculty in the college, speaks highly of the accomplishments made by Dr. Farahmandi. She is an innovator, leader, and outstanding collaborator to many in the college and in the community.” 

Dr. Rhines is currently the President and CEO of Cornami, Inc., a fabless software/semiconductor company focused on intelligent computing for fully homomorphic encryption and machine learning. He was previously CEO of Mentor Graphics for 25 years and Chairman of the Board for 17 years. During his tenure at Mentor, revenue nearly quadrupled and market value of the company increased 10X.

Prior to joining Mentor Graphics, Dr. Rhines was Executive Vice President, Semiconductor Group, responsible for Texas Instruments’ (TI) worldwide semiconductor business. During his 21 years at TI, he was President of the Data Systems Group, held numerous semiconductor executive management positions and was directly responsible for the creation and growth of the digital signal processing business which eventually comprised about 50% of TI’s total revenue.

Dr. Rhines holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Stanford University, a master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University and Honorary Doctor of Technology degrees from the University of Florida and Nottingham Trent University.Dr. Rhines grew up in Gainesville, and despite his many years elsewhere, his heart remains firmly rooted in Gainesville. Dr. Rhines’ father, Frederick Rhines, was the founder of UF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. His love of Gainesville is evidenced by the support which the Rhines Foundation provides the University of Florida.