Published: June 30, 2010

University of Colorado at Boulder faculty member Douglas Sicker has been appointed chief technologist of the Federal Communications Commission, the federal agency announced today. He will work in the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis and will advise the agency on technological issues.

Sicker, who is an associate professor of computer science with a joint appointment in the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program at CU-Boulder, will start the FCC position Aug. 1.

"I am delighted that Dr. Sicker is returning to provide the FCC with his broad and deep knowledge about the communications networks and technologies of today and tomorrow," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "His technical expertise will help the FCC pursue policies that spur investment, create jobs, promote innovation, and advance our nation's global technology leadership."

Sicker recently served as senior adviser to the FCC's National Broadband Plan. He also has held positions as chief of the Network Technology Division at the FCC and director of global architecture at Level 3 Communications. He became a faculty member in the CU-Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2001.

"Doug is one of the most productive faculty members in the department," said Xiao-Chuan Cai, professor and chair of the department of computer science. "We're thrilled that he's using his expertise to serve not only the university but also the country in this important role."

Sicker's research in computer security, wireless networking and federated computer systems has garnered funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration and a number of companies, Cai said. Through his collaboration with Professor Dirk Grunwald, CU-Boulder has become a national leader in "cognitive radio" networks and the security implications of next-generation wireless networks.

Sicker also has done innovative work on how privacy can be maintained on the Internet while at the same time exploring how people use such "anonymous networks," Cai said. Much of his work combines assessing how emerging technology impacts society with the development of new technology.

"It is a great honor for Doug Sicker to be named the FCC chief technologist," said Tim Brown, director of the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program. "The ITP faculty have been active participants in shaping national communications policy, which has been the subject of a lively national discourse often led by CU faculty members Dale Hatfield, Phil Weiser, Doug Sicker and others. Through their intellectual strength, new ideas have emerged that are sometimes referred to as the ‘Colorado School of Communications Policy.' "

Hatfield served as FCC chief technologist and chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology in the late 1990s. Weiser, on leave from the CU Law School, is currently serving as senior adviser for technology and innovation to the National Economic Council director. Hatfield and Weiser are the current and previous executive directors of the law school's Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

The Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program, which is in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, is the nation's oldest and one of the most prestigious graduate telecommunications programs in the world. For 38 years, the program has educated leaders who can bridge the engineering, business, economics, policy and legal fields.


Douglas Sicker