COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
UMBC campuses are closed, but courses are now online and employees are working remotely.

talk: Autonomous Agents, Deep Learning, and Graphs for Cyber Defense, 12-1 Fri. 3/13

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Autonomous Agents, Deep Learning,
and Graphs for Cyber Defense

Dr. Hasan Cam
Army Research Laboratory

12–1 pm Friday, 13 March 2020, ITE 227, UMBC


Cyber resilience usually refers to the ability of an entity to detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity attacks to the extent that the entity can continuously deliver the intended outcome despite their presence. Cybersecurity tools such as intrusion detection and prevention systems usually generate far too many alerts, indicators or log data, many of which do not have obvious security implications unless their correlations and temporal causality relationships are determined. In this talk, I will present methods to first estimate the infected and exploited assets and then take recovery and preventive actions using autonomous agents, deep learning, and graphs. Autonomous adversary and defender agents are designed such that the adversary agent can infer the adversary activities and intentions, based on cybersecurity observations and measurements, while the defender agent aims at estimating the best reactive and pro-active actions to protect assets and mitigate the adversary activities. The graph thinking and causality analysis of cyber infection and exploitation helps predict the infection states of some assets. This prediction data of infections is taken as input data by deep reinforcement learning to train agents for determining effective actions. This talk will discuss some preliminary results from the development of building an automated system of autonomous agents to provide cyber resiliency over networks.

Hasan Cam is a Computer Scientist at US Army Research Laboratory. He currently works on the projects involved with autonomous agents, active malware defense, cyber resiliency, and risk assessment over wired, mobile, and tactical networks. His research interests include cybersecurity, machine learning, data analytics, networks, algorithms, and parallel processing. He served as the government lead for the Risk area in Cyber Collaborative Research Alliance. He has previously worked as a faculty member in academia and a senior research scientist in the industry. He has served as an editorial member of two journals, a guest editor of two special issues of journals, an organizer of symposiums and workshops, and a Technical Program Committee Member in numerous conferences. He received a Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University, and an M.S. degree in computer science from Polytechnic University, New York. He is a Senior Member of IEEE.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681. The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public. Upcoming CDL Meetings:

  • Mar 27, Dan Yaroslaski, cybercommand
  • Apr 10, Russ Fink (APL), ransomware
  • Apr 24, Lance Hoffman (GWU), policy
  • May 8, Jason Wells, law enforcement
  • May 22, Spring SFS Meeting at UMBC, 9:30-2, ITE 456

❌ Canceled: UMBC Data Science Meetup: Rapid Data Exploration with Apache Drill ❌

❌ Canceled: UMBC Data Science Meetup:
Rapid Data Exploration with Apache Drill

5:30-7:00 pm 11 March 2020, UC 310, UMBC

Join Charles Givre for a hands-on introduction to data exploration with Apache Drill. Becoming a data-driven business means using all the data you have available, but a common problem in many organizations is that data is not optimally arranged for ad-hoc analysis. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on exercises, you’ll gain the ability to access previously inaccessible data sources and analyze them with ease. You’ll learn how to use Drill to query and analyze structured data, connect multiple data sources to Drill, and perform cross-silo queries. Study after study shows that data scientists and analysts spend between 50% and 90% of their time preparing their data for analysis. Using Drill, you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to go from raw data to insight. This workshop will show you how.

UMBC University Center, Room 310
March 11, 2020, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
(5:30 – 6:00 pm) Social
(6:00 – 6:50 pm) Workshop: Rapid Data Exploration with Apache Drill
(6:50 – 7:00 pm) Question and Answer Session

Register on the Meetup page.

Note that we formally end our Q&A session at 7 pm (so that graduate students can catch their classes starting at 7:10 pm) but in our previous events we’ve seen that one-on-one and group discussions with the speaker(s) continue even after Q&A session

Speaker: Mr. Charles Givre works as a manager at JP Morgan Chase. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, Mr. Givre worked as a Senior Lead Data Scientist for Booz Allen Hamilton for the last seven years where he works in the intersection of cybersecurity and data science. Mr. Givre taught data science classes at BlackHat, the O’Reilly Security Conference, the Center for Research in Applied Cryptography and Cyber Security at Bar Ilan University. One of Mr. Givre’s research interests is increasing the productivity of data science and analytic teams, and towards that end, he has been working extensively to promote the use of Apache Drill in security applications and is a committer and PMC Chair for the Drill project. Mr. Givre teaches online classes for O’Reilly about Drill and Security Data Science and is a coauthor for the O’Reilly book Learning Apache Drill. Mr. Givre holds a Masters Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Brandeis University, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s of Music both from the University of Arizona. He blogs at thedataist.com and tweets @cgivre.

Complimentary food, such as pizza and chips, and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided

Visitor parking spaces are located at Administration Drive Garage upper level, Commons Garage first level, Walker Avenue Garage upper level, Lot 9 and Lot 7 on Walker Avenue. Visitors do not need to pay for parking after 4:00 pm.

Join the UMBC Data Science Meetup group and register for this event here.

UMBC Data Science Meetup: Enabling Value-Based Health Care Using Modern Analytics Tools

Enabling Value-Based Health Care
Using Modern Analytics Tools

Daniel Pichardo and Dr. Xue Yang

UMBC will have its second Data Science meetup on February 27 at UMBC University Center, Room 310. Attendance is free, register here. Visitors can park for free (after 4:00 pm) at the parking lots marked with black arrows in the event photo. The program is as follows

(5:30 – 6:00 pm) Social
(6:00 – 6:50 pm) Talk & Demo: Enabling Value-Based Health Care Using Modern Analytics Tools
(6:50 – 7:15 pm) Question and Answer Session

Speakers: Daniel Pichardo and Dr. Xue Yang

Speaker Bios: Danny Pichardo is a Senior Data Scientist at Newwave. He previously worked as a Statistician at the American Urological Association. He holds a B.Sc. In Statistics from UMBC. His interest and experience include prediction modeling and causal inference using real world health data.

Xue Yang is a data scientist with a solid medical background. At NewWave, Xue works on data analysis and AI/ML model exploration that support data exchange/feedback platform and AI/ML projects. Before joining NewWave, she was building AI/ML models using medical insurance claims data at CareFirst. Xue has a M.P.S. in Data Science from UMBC, a Ph.D. on Genetics and an M.D. from China, and was a postdoc at Johns Hopkins Medical School at the Institute of Genetic Medicine.

Abstract: Value-based healthcare is a healthcare delivery model in which providers are paid based on patient health outcomes. Value-based healthcare requires measuring clinical outcomes and spotting population trends while incentivizing health care providers for the delivery of better healthcare.

New Wave is building next-generation data platforms to improve health outcomes and reduce waste by transforming the wealth of data CMS currently collects, which allows the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to fulfill its objectives of delivering value-based health care for the citizens. We leverage cloud-based tools such as Snowflake, Looker, and Databricks to provide health care providers a flexible platform to explore their patient’s data, as well as enable data scientists to perform efficient data analyses, model development, and reporting. We will demo how these tools can seamlessly work together, enabling every step of the data science process. Please join us on this journey of transformation as we attempt to modernize and innovate in healthcare.

Parking: Visitor parking spaces are located at Administration Drive Garage upper level, Commons Garage first level, Walker Avenue Garage upper level, Lot 9 and Lot 7 on Walker Avenue. Visitors do not need to pay for parking after 4:00 pm. Register here.

🔴 talk: Shawn Blanton (CMU); Designing Secure Hardware Systems, 1pm Fri 2/7; Commons 329

Lockheed Martin Distinguished Speaker Series

Designing Secure Hardware Systems

Shawn Blanton

Trustee Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University

1:00-2:00pm Friday 7 Feb. 2020

Commons 329, UMBC
University Center Ballroom

On October 29, 2018, DARPA issued an RFI that stated: “This Request for Information (RFI) from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) seeks information on technology, concepts, and approaches to support the integration of security capabilities directly into System on Chip (SoC) system design and to enable the autonomous integration and assembly of SoCs.

This RFI and the tens of millions of dollars that the US government has already invested in hardware security research and development is based on the fact that the fabrication of state-of-the-art electronics is now mostly overseas. With the recent announcement that GLOBALFOUNDRIES is going to stop all 7nm development, there is now only one company in the US that continues to pursue advanced semiconductors (Intel). Unfortunately, Intel does not have the same experience of making chips for third parties as does Samsung and (most importantly) TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation). As a result, the US government believes it will be forced to fabricate advanced, sensitive electronics overseas in untrusted fabrication facilities. As a result, there is keen interest in design methodologies that mitigate reverse engineering, tampering, counterfeiting, etc.

In this talk, an overview of hardware security will be presented followed by a discussion on a concept called logic locking. This approach will be described and the “back and forth” that is now occurring in the research community involving: (i) vulnerability discovery and (ii) logic locking improvement.

Shawn Blanton is a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University and Associate Director of the SYSU-CMU Joint Institute of Engineering (JIE). In 1995 he received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests include various aspects of integrated system tests, testable design, and test methodology development. He has consulted for various companies and is the founder of TestWorks, a Carnegie Mellon University spinout focused on information extraction from IC test data. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and Senior Member of the ACM and served as the program chair for the 2011 International Test Conference.

URCAD 2020 Applications are now open

Photo from URCAD 2019 by Marlayna Demond ’11

URCAD 2020 Applications now open

UMBC’s 24th Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day will be held on April 22, 2020. Apply to present your research or creative work by February 14, 2020.

All current undergraduates who have conducted research, scholarship or creative work in the last year may apply to present their results at URCAD. Student work is shared through oral presentations, posters, artistic exhibits and performances, and film. Mentors, fellow students, friends, family members, high school teachers and students, graduate school recruiters, and the general public are invited to attend.

Researchers work with faculty mentors on independent research or research that is part of the mentor’s on-going projects.  They are from all disciplines and can be working on a thesis, capstone project, part of a scholars or honors program, or they can be unaffiliated with other programs.

Students who have received Undergraduate Research Awards for the previous year will present their findings. The UMBC Review, UMBC’s annual peer-reviewed research journal, which features academic papers written by UMBC undergraduates, makes its debut at this event- stop by and get your copy! Come hear the alumni keynote speaker talk about their experiences after UMBC, and how being an undergraduate researcher benefited them.

UMBC is unique in providing this opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct and present their research in a professional and supportive setting.  Students get valuable feedback from their peers, faculty, and staff, and practice their public speaking and presentation skills.  This campus-wide celebration of achievement affirms UMBC’s commitment to the twin goals of research and a distinctive undergraduate experience.

For more information and to apply, visit the URCAD site.

talk: Ian Blumenfeld on Interactive Proof Assistants for Verification, Fri 1/31

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Interactive Proof Assistants for Verification

Ian Blumenfeld
Principal Research Mathematician
Two Six Labs
   

12:00-1:00 pm Friday,  31 January 2020, ITE 227

Many advances have been made in software and hardware assurance using automated tooling.  Constraint-based solving tools like SAT and SMT solvers have proved very useful proving functional correctness in the world of software, while the hardware world relies heavily on the use of industrial-strength model checkers to provide formal verification of important properties like liveness and non-interference.  Sometimes, however, push-button tools are simply not enough. In this talk, we will discuss formal mathematical reasoning using interactive proof assistants, particularly Isabelle. While Isabelle is often thought of as a tool for checking the work of mathematicians, it is, in fact, a powerful engine for reasoning about software and hardware security.  We will work through an example of the verification of a multi-precision arithmetic software library using Isabelle. This talk is aimed at total beginners in the realm of automated theorem proving, and seeks to provide an overview of the fundamental techniques and ideas. 

Ian Blumenfeld is a Principal Research Mathematician at Two Six Labs.  He currently is the principal investigator of TwoSix’s efforts on the DARPA SafeDocs program, attempting to help do type-theoretic reasoning about document specification formats.  He is a former employee of Apple where he worked on the formal verification team, ensuring the security of the iPhone SEP chip. He has done extensive work verifying cyber-physical systems at Johns Hopkins APL.  Mr. Blumenfeld’s interest in formal methods began with his time working as an Applied Research Mathematician in NSA’s Research Directorate. He’s also a pretty good swing dancer.

Host: Alan T. Sherman, 

Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681. 

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays.  All meetings are open to the public.

JHU/APL CIRCUIT internship program information session, 3pm Fri 1/31

JHU/APL CIRCUIT internship program information session

3:00-4:00 pm Friday, 31 January 2020

ITE 459, UMBC

There will be a special information session on the JHU/APL CIRCUIT internship program from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Friday, 31 January 2020 in room ITE 459.

This session is for undergraduates who want to spend their summer (June through August) getting paid to do mentored research at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. The research areas include AI, data science, cybersecurity, precision medicine, and planetary exploration.

Interns selected for the program will do mission-oriented research on-site at JHU/APL in Laurel MD mentored by STEM professionals. There will also be year-round opportunities for engagement and enrichment. The selection for an internship will be based on a combination of potential, need and commitment.

Email or with questions.

Global Game Jam at UMBC, 5pm Fri 1/31 – 5pm Sun 2/2

Global Game Jam
The GGJ is the largest game jam event with 850 physical locations in 113 countries. In 2019 it had over 47,000 participants, who made 9,010 games together in 48 hours.

Global Game Jam 2020 registration

Registration for the 2020 Global Game Jam is open!

For the 12th(!) year in a row, UMBC is the Baltimore host site for the Global Game Jam! It will run from 5:00 pm Friday, January 31st to 5:00 pm Sunday, February 2nd, just after classes start. Space is limited, so sign up now!

For anyone who hasn’t participated, the global game jam is a 48-hour game development event, similar in spirit to a hackathon, with hundreds of host sites around the world. At 5:00 pm local time, introduce the jam and announce this year’s theme. Previous year’s themes have ranged from a phrase (“as long as we’re together there will always be problems”) to a word (“extinction”) to an image (ouroboros: a snake eating its tail), to a sound (the recording of a heartbeat). Participants brainstorm game ideas around the theme, form into teams, and spend the weekend building games that are designed to be both fun and express the theme.

The UMBC site is not restricted to just students. In previous years, we have had a mix of UMBC students, alumni, students from other schools, game development professionals, and just people with an interest in game development. You can get more information on game jams, the GGJ, and the UMBC site on the UMBC Games, Animation and Interactive Media web page.   

The UMBC site is limited to just 40 participants, so sign up early if you want to come. If you are not near UMBC, check the main Global Game Jam site for a participating location near you.

UMBC fields two teams in 2019 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship

UMBC fields two teams in 2019 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship

The UMBC Chess program has two four-player teams competing in the 2019 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. The four day tournament starts this Friday evening at 6:30 and finishes with a final round on Monday morning. The Pan-Am collegiate chess team competition has been held since 1946 and UMBC has won ten times since 1996, tying with the University of Texas Dallas for the most number of wins.

The tentative composition of the two teams in the tournament is:

  • Team A: GM Tanguy Ringoir; WIM Mai Narva; IM Rohan Ahuja; IM Marek Matyas; and WIM Ewa Harazinska (alternate).
  • Team B: Maor Leker; Douglas M Malcolm; Danielle Sharp; and Kabindra B Shahi.

The team is coached by Igor Epshteyn. CSEE Professor Alan Sherman is the founder and the director of the UMBC Chess program.

The top four USA schools from this six-round team Swiss championship will advance to the Final Four in April.  Initially, UMBC was ranked 8th top school and 16th top team among 63 teams (some schools have multiple strong teams).  The Pan-Am Intercollegiate is open to any college or university in North, Central, or South America.

You can follow UMBC’s progress at the Pan-AM website and keep track of the games, pairings, and standings at the 2019 Pan Am web site.

Spring 2020: Computing Courses for Non-Majors

CMSC 201, Computer Science I (section for non-CS/non-CE majors)

Does your major require you to take CMSC 201? Or are you looking for an entry-level computing course to supplement your major?

Enroll in a special section of CMSC 201 Computer Science I (Lecture Section 40; Lab Section 41 or 42) that emphasizes programming topics applicable to many non-CS disciplines. You will also receive more individual attention in this smaller CMSC 201 section!

This section fulfills any major’s requirement for CMSC 201 and is open to all non-CS, non-computer engineering majors.

No programming experience is required. The only prerequisite is that students must have completed MATH 150, 151 or 152 with a C or better; OR have MATH test placement into MATH 151; OR have completed MATH 155 with a C or better.

For permission to enroll, email Dr. Ben Johnson at


CMSC 291, Continued Computing for Non-majors (3 credits, lecture only, Section 01)

Looking for computing skills beyond CMSC 201?

In CMSC 291, you will extend your Python programming knowledge, as well as learn valuable skills such as programming on your Windows/Mac OS/Linux computer, controlling your source code, web application development, web scraping (gathering data from existing websites), and database usage. There will also be plenty of in-class, hands-on time!

The course prerequisite is CMSC 201 Computer Science I (for majors or non-majors).

For permission to enroll, email Dr. Ben Johnson at

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