Dr. Gaston Ormazabal


Gaston Ormazabal is a Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University in the Department of Computer Science where he is co-leading a major research initiative on next generation wireless internet technologies (5G) that is funded by major technology-industry corporations. He previously worked at Verizon Laboratories for twenty seven years as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff. He holds a B.A from Harvard University, and M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, all in Physics. While at Columbia, as a graduate student, he conducted research in particle physics at Fermi and Brookhaven National Accelerator Laboratories. After graduation, he went to work at Bell Communications Research (Bellcore) developing packet switching technology. From Bellcore, he went, as one of the founding members, to NYNEX Science and Technology (today Verizon Labs) where he worked in projects ranging from speech recognition, video compression, data warehousing and data mining, to Fast Packet, SONET and IP technologies. He also developed a predictive analysis expert systems tool using performance-monitoring data to predict a circuit failure using a modified Markov Model. Most recently, he was responsible for Network Security Systems Integration and Testing, concentrating in areas of VoIP and Video Security Protocols and Management Systems, as well as involved in designing a Security Management Infrastructure for the Next Generation Network (NGN). Concurrently, Dr Ormazabal conceived a research project on VoIP Security at Columbia University Internet Real-Time Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science in which a high scalability SIP-aware Application Layer Gateway was developed using a highly distributed hardware platform, along with the testing environment to verify its performance at carrier-class traffic rates; the latter based on his patented design and methodology (US Patents 7,076,393, 7,421,734). The project was expanded to develop a SIP-based distributed denial-of-service detection and mitigation system, the first of its kind. This research was conducted under the co-direction of Department of Computer Science Chairman, Professor Henning Schulzrinne. The results were presented at NANOG-38, Global 3G Evolution Forum in Tokyo, Japan, IPTComm 2007 in New York City and IPTComm 2008 in Heidelberg, Germany. Dr Ormazabal was also an invited guest at the “Third International IMS Workshop” at the prestigious Fraunhofer-FOKUS research institute in Berlin, the first FBI-sponsored International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) 2009 in New York, the IEEE CQR 2009 (Naples) and 2010 (Vancouver) Conferences and the Illinois Institute of Technology VoIP Conference and Expo (Chicago) where he has been either key-note speaker or Security section Chair, annually since 2008. The project generated nine joint Columbia-Verizon patent applications. This breakthrough security technology has spawned a quadripartite industry-academic collaboration under Dr Ormazabal’s leadership, involving the Center for Advanced Technology Telecommunications (CATT) at New York University, Columbia University, Verizon and Cisco to research the optimal hardware platform for an eventual commercialization. This collaboration has received worldwide press coverage. As a former particle physicist, Dr Ormazabal was also recently involved in investigating cosmic rays as the source of single event upsets (SEU) in router memory chips and provided briefings to Department of Homeland Security national infrastructure protection officials.

Dr Ormazabal previously managed other University Research Programs at Columbia University (Softswitch Technologies) and the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (Intelligent Automation Tools for SS7 Quad Interoperability Testing) where he has been a regular featured speaker at the annual CATT Research Day, most recently on “Post 9/11 Security Strategies”. Dr Ormazabal is a member of the prestigious CATT Advisory Board to help focus the direction of research anddevelopment activities under the auspices of New York State Office of Science Technology and Advanced Research. He was the recipient of the “CATT 25th Anniversary Technological Impact Award” for his technical contributions to academic-industry research in November 2007. Dr Ormazabal was Verizon’s representative to VoIP Security Alliance (VoIPSA), a contributor to ANSI standards committees, and has over thirty patents (some pending) on Optical, VoIP and Next Generation (5G) wireless internet technologies. Dr Ormazabal has ample experience as an internationally known presenter and lecturer, to both highly technical academic audiences and Senior Management of technology companies and government.

On a personal level, Gaston is a dual citizen of the United States and Chile, resides in New York City, and has had a life-long passion for classical music and opera. Significantly, he had a long and very close association with the great German Dramatic Soprano, Hildegard Behrens, most famous for her dramatic portrayals of the great Wagnerian and Straussian heroines. He was her close musical and artistic advisor. This friendship afforded him front row seats to some of the most significant musical events between 1980 and 2005, in New York (Metropolitan Opera, NY Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall), Boston (Boston Symphony Orchestra), San Francisco (San Francisco Opera), London (Royal Opera House at Covent Garden), Munich (Bavarian State Opera), Berlin (Deutsche Oper), Vienna (Vienna State Opera), Athens (Herodes Atticus and Megaron), Buenos Aires (Teatro Colon) and the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of young musical talent and the mission of YOA Orchestra of the Americas since hearing the Orchestra’s 2006 Munich performance of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem conducted by Plácido Domingo. In March of 2010 he became a Member of the Board of the YOA. On August 18th 2010, he created The Hildegard Behrens Foundation, as Founder and Chairman, to memorialize the achievements of the great German soprano, by promoting and giving scholarships to young musicians that aspire to the deeply held humanistic ideals espoused by the soprano during her memorable lifetime.