Dependable Computing and

Fault Tolerance

The IEEE Technical Committee on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance
IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance

The William C. Carter PhD Dissertation Award in Dependability

Award Presentation

The William C. Carter Award is presented annually at the DSN Conference to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of dependable computing through his or her graduate dissertation research.

The IEEE TC on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance (TCFT) and IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance (WG 10.4) jointly sponsor the William C. Carter PhD Dissertation Award in Dependability.

Instituted in 1997 as the William C. Carter Award, it was reformulated in 2016, where the present name and eligibility requirements aim at recognizing an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of dependable and secure computing throughout his or her PhD dissertation.

The award commemorates the late William C. Carter, a key figure in the formation and development of the field of dependable computing. Bill Carter always took the time to encourage, mentor, and inspire newcomers to this field and this award honors and sustains this aspect of his legacy.

The award recipient will receive a $2,000 US cash award, and a waived registration fee to attend the edition of the IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN) at which the award is presented. The recipient will be required to attend DSN to receive the award and will be invited to give a short presentation to DSN attendees.


To be eligible for the award, the nominee’s PhD defense must be completed prior to the nomination deadline and must have occurred no more than 16 months prior to the nomination deadline. A candidate can be nominated only one time. Previous recipients of the (old or renamed) Carter Award are not eligible.

2020 William C. Carter PhD Dissertation Award in Dependability

The winner of the 2020 William C. Carter PhD Dissertation Award in Dependability is:

Bo Fang, University of British Columbia, CA
PhD Dissertation title: Approaches for Building Error Resilient Applications
Defense date: February 11th, 2020
Thesis Advisor: Karthik Pattabiraman (University of British Columbia, CA)

Dissertation Summary: "Bo Fang’s thesis addresses the problem of transient hardware faults in high performance computing (HPC) systems. Starting form the idea that most transient hardware faults have no significant impact at the software layer, Bo’s thesis proposes an error propagation model and a crash model to identify which faults really matter, particularly the ones that may cause silent data corruption and crashes, in order to selectively trigger recovery actions. Subsequently, Bo proposes the innovative idea of applying the roll-forward recovery scheme in standard checkpoint/restart system to allow trading confidence in results for efficiency in both performance and energy saving. Bo’s work has already been making an impact on the design and implementation of HPC systems at two national labs in the US, namely Pacific Northwestern National Labs (PNNL), and Los Alamos National Labs (LANL)"


Nominations are to be made by the nominee's PhD advisor. The nominations package should include (in a single PDF file with the Dissertation last):

  1. A cover letter from the PhD advisor, including the name of the PhD granting institution, the date that the PhD defense was conducted and a brief nomination statement (1 page, 3000 characters max
  2. One external reference letter whose primary affiliation is outside the PhD granting institution (2 pages, 6000 characters max)
  3. A two-page summary of the research work in English
  4. List of publications that resulted from the dissertation research (including those that are under review at the time of nomination)
  5. Copies of up to three papers resulting form the dissertation work among the list above<
  6. The complete dissertation in its original language

While not a requirement for consideration, publications in the Dependable Systems and Networks conference (DSN) are encouraged.

The letters should address the following:

A special committee will evaluate all nominations made in the current year and choose the award recipient.

The committee Chair and the committee members will be appointed by the DSN Steering Committee Chair after the nomination deadline to avoid potential conflicts of interest. The Carter award committee shall not include members who have nominated someone for the award have served as a reference for a nominee. The committee chair and members will be published at the DSN and web pages.

Submission and Notification dates

Nominations for the award to be presented at the 2021 edition of DSN should be mailed to the DSN Steering Committee Chair Mohamed Kaâniche (, no later than 11:59pm CET on TBD (hard deadline). Make sure the words Carter Award are in the subject line. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt (try again if you don’t). If you have difficulties with the size of the file including the nomination package, you may provide a URL link for retrieval in your email. The winning work will be announced by TBD.

DSN 2021 Selection Committee members