Danfeng (Daphne) Yao is a professor of computer science at Virginia Tech. She is an Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellow, CACI Faculty Fellow, and affiliate faculty at the Sanghani Center. Her research interests include building cyber defenses, as well as machine learning for digital health, with a shared focus on accuracy and deployment. She creates new models, algorithms, techniques, and deployment-quality tools for securing large-scale software and systems. Her tool CryptoGuard helps large software companies and Apache projects harden their cryptographic code. She systematized program anomaly detection in the book Anomaly Detection as a Service. Her patents on anomaly detection are extremely influential in the industry, cited by patents from major cybersecurity firms and technology companies, including FireEye, Symantec, Qualcomm, Cisco, IBM, SAP, Boeing, and Palo Alto Networks.
Yao is an IEEE Fellow for her contributions to enterprise data security and high-precision vulnerability screening. In 2021, she received the prestigious ACM CODASPY Lasting Research Award. She is also an ACM Distinguished Scientist. Previously, she received the NSF CAREER Award and ARO Young Investigator Award. She is the ACM SIGSAC Vice Chair and has been a member of the ACM SIGSAC executive committee since 2017.
Yao received her Ph.D. degree in computer science from Brown University; an M.S. degree in chemistry from Princeton University; an M.S. degree in computer science from Indiana University Bloomington; and a B.S. degree in chemistry from Peking University in China.