Israel Cidon named director of Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute

Israel Cidon, an entrepreneur and former dean of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has joined Cornell Tech as director of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

Cidon previously served as vice president and researcher at VMware Research, where for more than six years he worked on high-performance, worldwide networks that bridged the Internet of Things, data centers, public clouds and more, enabling and optimizing geo-distributed modern applications.

Israel Cidon

“Professor Cidon has led groundbreaking research, co-founded several successful startups and developed 65 U.S. patents covering aspects of data networks including mobility, packet switching, security, internet and beyond,” said Greg Morrisett, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and Vice Provost of Cornell Tech. “His extensive expertise, startup and industrial research experience – including at VMWare, one of Silicon Valley’s leading companies – will be fundamental to advancing the Jacobs Institute’s mission of offering a global perspective on research, education, technology transfer, commercialization and entrepreneurship.”

Cidon succeeds Ron Brachman, who had led the institute since 2016.

“The Jacobs Institute represents the academic partnership between Cornell University and the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology at Cornell Tech,” Cidon said. “It’s a privilege to succeed Ron Brachman as director of the Jacobs Institute and build upon Ron’s leadership, furthering the institute’s innovative approach to research and industry partnership.”

Prior to his time at VMware, Cidon was on the faculty of the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, where he published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and served as dean of electrical and computer engineering from 2006-10. He earned his bachelor’s (1980) and Ph.D. (1984), both in electrical engineering, from the Technion.

Cidon has co-founded multiple technology companies, including Micronet Ltd., an early mobile data entry pioneer; Actona Technology, which introduced the basic technology for WAN optimization; Viola Networks, a network quality-of-service testing and diagnosis; and Sookasa, an organizational SaaS security platform.

As director, Cidon will lead the Jacobs Institute’s strategic vision as the institute continues to grow its interdisciplinary, translational research focused on grand challenges in the digital realm; its innovative dual-degree programs; and its commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship.

“Israel Cidon is an esteemed computer networking researcher with extensive management experience at the Technion,” said Uri Sivan, president of the Technion. “Professor Cidon has a rich and successful background in entrepreneurship, and maintains close relationships with the industry. I am confident that he will contribute significantly to strengthening the collaborations between Technion and Cornell University and advancing research and development at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.”

The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech offers dual-degree programs in health tech, connective media and urban tech. Since its founding, the Jacobs Institute has incubated 42 new startup companies, which have filed nearly 50 patent applications and secured more than $200 million in private funding.

More than 80% of these companies are still operating and, in aggregate, they employ more than 200 employees in New York City.

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Becka Bowyer