Dr. Joel Coffman

Computer Science

Personal Bio

Joel Coffman is a Senior Cyber Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), which he joined in 2012. Joel contributes to a variety of sponsored and internally-funded research and development projects where he applies software engineering expertise to improve software quality. Joel previously served as the technical lead for JHU/APL’s involvement in the OpenStack cloud computing project where he oversaw the contribution of a variety of security features to the open source community.

Joel received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia under the guidance of Alfred C. Weaver and a B.S. in Computer Science from Furman University. While in school, Joel conducted research in topics spanning ranking methods for keyword search, search engine query log analysis, timing analysis, non-volatile memory, and computer science education. Joel’s Ph.D. research focused on keyword search in databases where he used a systematic evaluation of existing approaches to guide advances in ranking methods to improve search effectiveness.

In addition to his work at JHU/APL, Joel serves as a lecturer for the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering where he currently teaches courses in cloud computing security and software engineering.

Education History

  • B.S. Computer Science, Furman University
  • M.S. Computer Science, University of Virginia
  • Ph.D. Computer Science, University of Virginia

Work Experience

Senior Professional Staff, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory


Bruce Benjamin, Joel Coffman, Hadi Esiely-Barrera, Kaitlin Farr, Daniel Genin, Laura Glendenning, Peter Hamilton, Shaku Harshavardhana, Rosalind Hom, Brianna Poulos, and Nathan Reller. "Data Protection in OpenStack." In CLOUD '17: IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 2017

Joel Coffman, Daniel M. Kelly, Christopher C. Wellons, and Andrew S. Gearhart. "ROP Gadget Prevalance and Survival under Compiler-based Binary Diversification Schemes." In SPRO '16: International Workshop on Software Protection, Vienna, Austria, October 2016

Joel Coman and Alfred C. Weaver. "An Empirical Performance Evaluation of Relational Keyword Search Techniques." In IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE), Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 30 - 42, January 2014.

Joel Coman and Alfred C. Weaver. What Are We Searching For? Analyzing User Objectives When Searching Relational Data." In WSCD '12: Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Web Search Click Data, Seattle, WA, February 2012.

Joel Coman and Alfred C. Weaver. Learning to Rank Results in Relational Keyword Search." In CIKM '11: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, pp. 1689-1698, Glasgow, Scotland, October 2011.

Joel Coman and Alfred C. Weaver. A Framework for Evaluating Database Keyword Search Strategies." In CIKM '10: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, pp. 729-738, Toronto, Canada, October 2010.

Clint Smullen, Joel Coman, and Sudhanva Gurumurthi. Accelerating Enterprise Solid-State Disks with Non-Volatile Merge Caching." In IGCC '10: Proceedings of the 1st International Green Computing Conference, pp. 203-214, Chicago, IL, August 2010.

Joel Coman and Alfred C. Weaver. Structured Data Retrieval using Cover Density Ranking." In KEYS '10: Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Keyword Search on Structured Data, pp. 1-6, Indianapolis, IN, June 2010.

Joel Coman and Alfred C. Weaver. Electronic Commerce Virtual Laboratory." In SIGCSE '10: Proceedings of the 41st SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, pp. 92-96, Milwaukee, WI, March 2010.

Joel Coman, Christopher Healy, Frank Meuller, and David Whalley. Generalizing Parameteric Timing Analysis." In LCTES '07: Proceedings of the 2007 ACM SIGPLAN/SIGBED Conference on Languages, Compilers, and Tools for Embedded Systems, pp. 152-154, San Diego, CA, June 2007.

Honors and Awards

  • Excellence in Teaching Award for new instructors, Engineering for Professionals, Johns Hopkins University (2015)
  • McGaughey Fellowship, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia (2011)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (2007)
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon (2006)

Professional Organizations

IEEE Computer Society