talk: Towards Hardware Cybersecurity, 11am Tue 2/20, ITE325, UMBC

hardware cybersecurity

Towards Hardware Cybersecurity

Professor Houman Homayoun
George Mason University

11:00am-12:00pm Tuesday, 20 Febuary 2018, ITE 325, UMBC

Electronic system security, trust and reliability has become an increasingly critical area of concern for modern society. Secure hardware systems, platforms, as well as supply chains are critical to industry and government sectors such as national defense, healthcare, transportation, and finance.

Traditionally, authenticity and integrity of data has been protected with various security protocol at the software level with the underlying hardware assumed to be secure, and reliable. This assumption however is no longer true with an increasing number of attacks reported on the hardware. Counterfeiting electronic components, inserting hardware trojans, and cloning integrated circuits are just few out of many malicious byproducts of hardware vulnerabilities, which need to be urgently addressed.

In the first part of this talk I will address the security and vulnerability challenges in the horizontal integrated hardware development process. I will then present the concept of hybrid spin-transfer torque CMOS look up table based design which is our latest effort on developing a cost-effective solution to prevent physical reverse engineering attacks.

In the second part of my talk I will present how information at the hardware level can be used to address some of the major challenges of software security vulnerabilities monitoring and detection methods. I will first discuss these challenges and will then show how the use of data at the hardware architecture level in combination with an effective machine learning based predictor helps protecting systems against various classes of hardware vulnerability attacks.

I will conclude the talk by emphasizing the importance of this emerging area and proposing a research agenda for the future.

Dr. Houman Homayoun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Mason University. He also holds a courtesy appointment with the Department of Computer Science as well as Information Science and Technology Department. He is the director of GMU’s Accelerated, Secure, and Energy-Efficient Computing Laboratory (ASEEC).  Prior to joining GMU, Houman spent two years at the University of California, San Diego, as NSF Computing Innovation (CI) Fellow awarded by the CRA-CCC. Houman graduated in 2010 from University of California, Irvine with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He was a recipient of the four-year University of California, Irvine Computer Science Department chair fellowship. Houman received the MS degree in computer engineering in 2005 from University of Victoria and BS degree in electrical engineering in 2003 from Sharif University of Technology. Houman conducts research in hardware security and trust, big data computing, and heterogeneous computing, where he has published more than 80 technical papers in the prestigious conferences and journals on the subject. Since 2012 he leads ten research projects, a total of $7.2 million in funding, supported by DARPA, AFRL, NSF, NIST, and GM on the topics of hardware security and trust, big data computing, heterogeneous architectures, and biomedical computing. Houman received the 2016 GLSVLSI conference best paper award for developing a manycore accelerator for wearable biomedical computing. Since 2017 he has been serving as an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on VLSI. He is currently serving as technical program co-chair of 2018 GLSVLSI conference.

talk: Nonnegative Binary Matrix Factorization on a D-Wave Quantum Annealer, 1:30 2/15


CHMPR Distinguished Lecture Series

Nonnegative Binary Matrix Factorization
with a D-Wave Quantum Annealer

Dr. Daniel O’Malley
Los Alamos National Laboratory

1:30 15 February 2018, ITE325, UMBC


D-Wave quantum annealers represent a novel computational architecture and have attracted significant interest. Much of this interest has focused on the quantum behavior of D-Wave machines, and there have been few practical algorithms that use the D-Wave. Machine learning has been identified as an area where quantum annealing may be useful. Here, we show that the D-Wave 2X can be effectively used as part of an unsupervised machine learning method. This method takes a matrix as input and produces two low-rank matrices as output — one containing latent features in the data and another matrix describing how the features can be combined to approximately reproduce the input matrix. Despite the limited number of bits in the D-Wave hardware, this method is capable of handling a large input matrix. The D-Wave only limits the rank of the two output matrices. We apply this method to learn the features from a set of facial images and compare the performance of the D-Wave to two classical tools. This method is able to learn facial features and accurately reproduce the set of facial images. The performance of the D-Wave is mixed. It outperforms the two classical codes in a benchmark when only a short amount of computational time is allowed (200-20,000 microseconds), but these results suggest heuristics that would likely outperform the D-Wave in this benchmark.

Daniel O’Malley is a scientist in the Computational Earth Science group at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Prior to that, he held postdoctoral positions at LANL and in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University. He studied at Purdue University, receiving a B.S. degree in computer science and mathematics (2004), an M.S. in mathematics (2006) and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics (2011). His research interests include computational science (with an emphasis on subsurface flow and transport), quantum computing, uncertainty quantification, and machine learning. He has won numerous awards including a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship from LANL (2014), the InterPore-Fraunhofer Award for Young Researchers from the International Society for Porous Media (2012), a Charles C. Chappelle Fellowship from Purdue University (2004), and the Meyer E. Jerison Memorial Award in Analysis from the Department of Mathematics at Purdue University (2004).

talk: Results of the 2018 SFS Research Study at UMBC, 12pm Fri 2/9, ITE228


The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Results from the January 2018 SFS Research Study at UMBC

Enis Golaszewski
Department of Information Systems

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 9 February 2018, ITE 228 (or nearby)

January 22-26, 2018, UMBC SFS scholars worked collaboratively to analyze the security of a targeted aspect of the UMBC computer system.  The focus of this year’s study was the WebAdmin module that enables users to perform various functions on their accounts, including changing the password.  Students identified vulnerabilities involving failure to sanitize user input properly and suggested mitigations.  Participants comprised BS, MS, MPS, and PhD students studying computer science, computer engineering, information systems, and cybersecurity, including SFS scholars who transferred from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College to complete their four-year degrees at UMBC. We hope that other universities can benefit from our motivational and educational strategy of cooperating with the university’s IT staff to engage students in active project-based learning centering on focused questions about the university computer system.

This project was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant 1241576.

Enis Golaszewski () is a PhD student and SFS scholar in computer science working with Dr. Sherman on blockchain, protocol analysis, and the security of software-defined networks.

Host: Alan T. Sherman, 

talk: PKI in the Defense Information Systems Agency, 12-1 Fri 12/1, ITE228


UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

PKI in the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

Phil Scheffler

Chief Engineer – Joint Enablers
ID2 – Cyber Development Directorate
Defense Information Systems Agency

12:00–1pm, Dec 1, 2017, ITE 228

As a combat support agency within the Department of Defense, DISA faces unlimited challenges with Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI). Chief Engineer Phil Scheffler will shed some light on DoD PKI at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and challenges deploying PKI across such a large enterprise.

Philip Scheffler is the Chief Engineer for the ID2 Joint Enablers Division in DISA’s Cyber Development Directorate. He joined DISA in 2010 as an NSA Information Assurance Scholar on the Public Key Enablement team. Over the past 7 years, Phil has been the technical lead for various PKI initiatives for the DoD. Mr. Scheffler has a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University and a M.S in Computer Science from Boston University.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

talk: Brief Introduction to Creative AI Applications and Common Network Architectures, 1pm Fri 12/1

ACM Student Chapter

A Brief Introduction to Creative AI Applications and Common Network Architectures

Hang Gao, Ph.D. student, UMBC
1:00-2:00pm Friday, 1 December 2017, ITE 217, UMBC

Recent advance and success in artificial intelligence technologies, e.g., deep learning, has drawn heavy investment from both universities and industries, leading to the emergence of many applications and ideas that may deeply change our everyday’s life in the future.

This talk aims at sharing my knowledge about some inspiring cross domain AI applications in various areas. Among them, many are potential intelligent solutions to real-life issues. We will also give a brief introduction to some common networks, e.g., CNN and RNN, that are widely used as components of some much more complicated architectures.

Follow the ACM Student Chapter Facebook page for event updates and contact with any questions.

talk: Jim Kurose (NSF) An Expanding and Expansive View of Computing, 1pm Mon 11/20

Distinguished Lecture

An Expanding and Expansive View of Computing

Jim Kurose

Assistant Director, National Science Foundation
Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering

1:00-2:15pm Monday, 20 November 2017, ITE325b, UMBC

Advances in computer and information science and engineering are providing unprecedented opportunities for research and education.  My talk will begin with an overview of CISE activities and programs at the National Science Foundation and include a discussion of current trends that are shaping the future of our discipline.  I will also discuss the opportunities as well as the challenges that lay ahead for our community and for CISE.

Dr. Kurose is on leave from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a  Distinguished Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences.  He has served in a number of administrative roles at UMass and has been a Visiting Scientist at IBM Research; INRIA; Institut EURECOM; the University of Paris; the Laboratory for Information, Network and Communication Sciences; and Technicolor Research Labs.

His research interests include network protocols and architecture, network measurement, sensor networks, multimedia communication, and modeling and performance evaluation.  Dr. Kurose has served on many national and international advisory boards and panels and has received numerous awards for his research and teaching.  With Keith Ross, he is the co-author of the textbook, Computer Networking, a top down approach (6th edition) published by Addison-Wesley/Pearson.

Dr. Kurose received his Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Wesleyan University.  He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

talk: An Introduction to Quantum Cryptography, Noon Friday 11/17, ITE231

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

An Introduction to Quantum Cryptography:
Or, How Alice Outwits Eve

Sam Lomonaco, CSEE, UMBC
12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 17 November 2017, ITE 231, UMBC

Alice and Bob wish to communicate without the archvillainess Eve eavesdropping on their conversation. Alice decides to take two college courses, one in cryptography, the other in quantum mechanics. During the courses, she discovers she can use what she has learned to devise a cryptographic communication system that automatically detects whether or not Eve is up to her villainous eavesdropping. Some of the topics discussed are Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the Vernam cipher, the BB84 and B92 cryptographic protocols. The talk ends with a discussion of some of Eve’s possible eavesdropping strategies, i.e., opaque eavesdropping, translucent eavesdropping, and translucent eavesdropping with entanglement.

Samuel J. Lomonaco Jr. received his PhD in mathematics from Princeton University. He has been a full professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1985, serving as founding chair of the CS Department from 1985 to 1991. Representative Awards, Accomplishments, and Honors include: (1) He was a visiting key research scientist at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) at the University of California at Berkley in 2004. (2) He was a senior LaGrange fellow at the Institute for Scientific Exchange in Torino, Italy in 2005. (3) For contributions made to the development of the programming language Ada, he received an award from the United States Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Richard DeLauer. (4) He was the first to introduce quantum information science to the American Mathematical Society (AMS) by organizing and giving a two-day AMS short course on quantum computation at the Annual Meeting of the AMS in Washington, DC, in January 2000. (5) He published four books on quantum computation and information science. (6) He accepted an invitation to be a guest editor of the Journal of Quantum Information Processing for a special issue on topological quantum computation.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

talk: Ferraro on Understanding What We Read and Share, 1pm Fri 11/10, ITE325, UMBC


ACM Faculty Talk Series

Understanding What We Read and Share:
Event Processing from Text and Images

Dr. Frank Ferraro, Assistant Professor, CSEE
1:00-2:00pm Friday, 10 November 2017, ITE 325, UMBC

A goal of natural language processing (NLP) is to design machines with human-like communication and language understanding skills. NLP systems able to represent knowledge and synthesize domain-appropriate responses have the potential to improve many tasks and human-facing applications, like virtual assistants such as Google Now or question answering systems like IBM’s Watson.

In this talk, I will present some of my work—past, on-going, and future—in developing knowledge-aware NLP models. I will discuss how to better (1) encode linguistic- and cognitive science-backed meanings within learned word representations, (2) learn high-level representations for document and discourse understanding, and (3) how to generate compelling, human-like stories from sequences of images.

Frank Ferraro is an assistant professor in the CSEE department at UMBC. His research focuses on natural language processing, computational event semantics, and unlabeled, structured probabilistic modeling over very large corpora. He has published basic and applied research on a number of cross-disciplinary projects, and has papers in areas such as multimodal processing and information extraction, latent-variable syntactic methods and applications, and the induction and evaluation of frames and scripts.

talk: Winning NCCDC, and its practicality in the real world, 12pm 11/3, ITE231

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Winning NCCDC, and its practicality in the real world

Bryan Vanek, CSEE, UMBC

12:00noon–1pm Friday, 3 November 2017, ITE 231

The National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC) takes place every year and gives students an environment where they can develop understanding and operational competency in managing and protecting corporate network infrastructure and business information systems. Competitors participate as the blue team, and try to protect their machines from being infiltrated by the red team, while simultaneously keeping critical services up and running in order for a mock business to stay up and running. After an immense amount of preparation and strife, the UMBC Cyber Defense Team took home its first national title for the competition this year. But what exactly did the team do to prepare for this competition? What exactly happened at the different stages of the competition? And just how practical are these situations in the real world? One of the winning team members will be covering these questions in this week’s CDL, so we hope to see you there!

Bryan Vanek is a UMBC undergraduate computer science major and mathematics minor. In addition to being one of the winning team members for NCCDC, he is currently serving as the president for the UMBC Cyber Defense Team, and is a CWIT T-SITE scholar. He currently works at Interclypse Inc. as a security engineer and software developer, and has had multiple internships and jobs dealing with aspects of computer development and security. Most recently he has completed his second internship at the Department of Defense  in the Summer Internship Program for Information Assurance. Upon graduation he will be returning to the DoD as a member of the Computer Network Operations development Program.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

talk: DOE Energy Exascale Earth System Model, 2:30 Tue 10/31, ITE325


CHMPR Distinguished Lecture Series

Energy Exascale Earth System Model

Dr. Mark Taylor, E3SM Chief Computational Scientist, Sandia National Laboratories

2:30pm Tuesday, 31 October 2017, ITE 325, UMBC


Dr. Taylor will present an overview of the DOE Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), including Sandia’s role in numerical algorithms, parallel scalability, and computational performance. E3SM is designed to run on upcoming next-generation DOE supercomputers. Adapting simulation codes to these new architectures is expected to be more disruptive than the previous transition from vector to massively parallel supercomputers. E3SM development is driven by several grand challenge science questions focused Earth’s cryosphere, biogeochemical and water cycle systems. E3SM has a new land and atmosphere component models branched from the CESM v1.2, coupled to new MPAS ocean, sea ice, and land ice models.

The current performance and throughput challenges of the E3SM high-resolution coupled configuration on several DOE computers will be discussed. Our current focus is on the NERSC Cori system with Intel Xeon Phi architecture, in the longer term we hope to make effective use of the upcoming NVIDIA GPU based system at ORNL. An analysis is presented of the E3SM spectral element atmosphere dycore following the NGGPS dycore computational evaluation protocol, but with an emphasis on the throughput rates needed for climate simulations. For even higher resolution simulations, we will rely on E3SM’s ability to use unstructured grids in all component models. This will allow us to achieve cloud-resolving resolution in select regions of interest seamlessly within the global modeling system.

Mark Taylor is a mathematician who specializes in numerical methods for parallel computing and geophysical flows. He currently serves as Chief Computational Scientist for the DOE’s Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project. Mark developed the mimetic/conservative formulation of the spectral element method, one of the atmospheric dynamical cores used in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) and the ACME project. Mark received his Ph.D. from New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in 1992 and has worked at Sandia National Laboratories since 2004. In 2014 he was awarded The Secretary of Energy Achievement Award for his work unifying the DOE climate modeling research community and enabling the development of high-resolution fully-coupled climate-system simulations.

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