VMWare presents the award each year to a faculty member who is within the first five years of their first tenure-track appointment. It includes a $125,000 award to support her research.
"Justine has pursued a coherent and impactful research agenda with interesting problem formulations, ambitious systems projects and heavy lifting," said Ole Agesen, a VMWare fellow and a member of the selection committee. "These are also characteristics that the award is meant to celebrate."
Sherry is known for early and influential work to identify and drive a research agenda around network middleboxes, which perform in-band packet processing functions ranging from network address translation and security inspection to load balancing and firewalling. As recently as a decade ago, the role of middleboxes was underappreciated, but her research showed that they comprise as much as a third of deployed infrastructure.
One of Sherry's key contributions was the idea that middlebox function could be deployed in the cloud rather than in dedicated physical components. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) has since become a $12 billion market and she continues to make well-rounded contributions to the field.
"Justine's work shows an aspect of fearlessness," said Srinivasan Seshan, CSD head. "She does a great job with problems that are risky or could take a long time to pay off, making them work out, and seeing where they will go."
Sherry joined CSD in 2016 and is also a member of CyLab. She earned her master's and Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a recipient of the SIGCOMM doctoral dissertation award, the David J. Sakrison prize and a number of best paper awards.