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.

talk: Creating a Smart and Connected Health System, 10am Tue 10/31

UMBC Information Systems Department

Creating a Smart and Connected Health System

Dr. Wendy J. Nilsen
Program Director, Smart and Connected Health Division
Information and Intelligent Systems Directorate
Computer & Information Science & Engineering
National Science Foundation

10am, Tuesday, 31 October 2017, ITE 459, UMBC

Science is changing rapidly and new transdisciplinary approaches are resulting in advances across scientific domains. Due to developments in computing and engineering, nested with a changing policy environment, medicine and public health are also at the cusp of a transformation that will accelerate discovery, improve health outcomes, decrease costs, and address the complexity of challenging health problems. To realize these advances requires partnerships between the scientific and health domains. Research communities are developing breakthrough ideas in a variety of diverse areas relevant to health, such as sensor networks, informatics, machine learning and datamining, decision support systems, modeling of behavioral and cognitive processes, as well as system and process harmonization. Solutions that effectively influence health must satisfy a multitude of constraints creating challenges and opportunities that individual disciplines cannot address alone. Computer science and engineering are poised to contribute to these changes by bring sophisticated techniques to partnerships in the biomedical realm. This talk will cover some advances being made and a vision for future. This talk explores the challenges in developing a smart health research ecosystem and highlights opportunities and promising new areas of research.

Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D. is a Program Director for the Smart and Connected Health Program in the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering at the National Science Foundation. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology and health. This includes a wide range of methods for data collection, advanced analytics and the creation of effective cyber-human systems. Her interests span the areas of sensing, analytics, cyber-physical systems, information systems, big data and robotics. More specifically, her efforts include: serving as co-chair of the Health Information Technology Research and Development working group of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program; the lead for the NSF/NIH Smart and Connected Health announcement; convening workshops to address methodology in technology in health research; serving on numerous federal technology initiatives; and, leading training institutes. Previously, Wendy was at the National Institutes of Health.

Nilanjan Banerjee: When What You Wear Understands You

When What You Wear Understands You

Professor Nilanjan Banerjee give a short talk at yher Grit-x event on recent research on systems that use intelligent, wearable sensors to provide better human-computer interfaces and for medical applications.

How can cutting-edge research on textile sensors and wearable radar sensors help us recognize gestures, monitor sleep fragmentation, and diagnose sleep disorders? The Banerjee lab has developed and applied sensors to users with upper extremity mobility impairments, adults suffering from insomnia and restless leg syndrome, and kids with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, with the intent to begin answering that question.

talk: H. Zhang on BFT- From the “Saddest Moment” to the Era of Blockchains, 12pm Fri 10/20

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

BFT—From the “Saddest Moment” to the Era of Blockchains

Haibin Zhang, CSEE, UMBC

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 20 October 2017, ITE 231

Blockchains can generally be divided into two categories: permissionless blockchains (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum), and permissioned blockchains (e.g., Hyperledger Fabric). In permissionless blockchains, anyone can participate in the protocol. In permissioned blockchains, participants know the IDs of all other participants but do not need to trust them, a particularly useful scenario for business applications. As an emerging technology transforming business models, permissioned blockchains inspired a large number of industrial implementations. The Hyperledger Project (under the Linux Foundation) became a global collaborative project, now with 150+ industry members. Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) protocols regained prominence because they can support permissioned blockchain systems. For building permissioned blockchains, BFT is widely regarded as the most appropriate primitive, one accepted by academe and industry. In this talk, I will describe a number of efficient BFT blockchain systems that I helped invent, including BChain, ByzID, CBFT, and secure causal BFT. In addition, I will share my vision for blockchains and associated research opportunities.

Haibin Zhang is an assistant professor in the CSEE Department at UMBC. He is interested in cloud computing, cryptography, security, privacy, and distributed systems. He received the best paper candidate award at the 33rd IEEE International Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems and proved the security of a NIST standard on ciphertext stealing.  Zhang is one of the main inventors of Norton Zone, Symantec’s scalable cloud storage, and BChain, a highly efficient BFT protocol fully implemented within Hyperledger blockchain framework.

Host: Alan T. Sherman, 

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

In spring 2018, Sherman will teach a CMSC-491/691 special topics class on blockchains and digital currencies.

talk: Bill Fisher (NCCOE) on IoT Security @ USG 10/30 6-8PM

The UMBC Cybersecurity program at USG Speaker Series Presents

The Internet of Things (IoT)

With speaker

William (Bill) Fisher, NCCoE Security Engineer

Building III – Room 4230 (Universities @ Shady Grove Campus)

Monday, October 30th 6:00-8:00 pm

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the inevitable result of years of Moore’s law – compact, cheap, chip platforms that can take ordinarily house hold items and make them data generating and collection devices that users can manage with their smart phone, web browser or their favorite automation platform. Physical proximity is no longer needed for things like cameras, door locks or thermostats. Instead users remotely access all of these “things” while on the go, even sharing some of their favorite things with friends and family, who need not own the thing, but simply be granted access through a web portal or mobile application. Like many technology trends before it, the IoT has brought great innovation but also great security challenges. These challenges go beyond standards and technology to economic and market forces that hinder security best practices, even for some of the most basic cyber hygiene. Join Bill Fisher of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for a presentation on these challenges and basic mitigations organizations can put into place to help alleviate the risk that the IoT devices pose to consumers and the enterprise.

Speaker Bio:

Bill Fisher is a security engineer at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE). In this role, he is responsible for leading a team of engineers that work collaboratively with industry partners to address cybersecurity business challenges facing the nation. He leads the center’s Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) project, Mobile Application Single Sign On (SSO) for the Public Safety and First Responder Sector, and is part of the ITL Cybersecurity for IoT program. Prior to his work at the NCCoE, Mr. Fisher was a program security advisor for the System High Corporation in support of the Network Security Deployment division at the Department of Homeland Security. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from American University and a master’s degree in cybersecurity from Johns Hopkins University.

Host: Dr. Behnam Shariati () and UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Association at USG

talk: Keith Mayes on Attacks on Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded System


Attacks on Smart Cards, RFIDs and Embedded Systems

Prof. Keith Mayes
Royal Holloway University of London

10-11:00am Tuesday, 10 October 2017, ITE 325, UMBC

Smart Cards and RFIDs exist with a range of capabilities and are used in their billions throughout the world. The simpler devices have poor security, however, for many years, high-end smart cards have successfully been used in a range of systems such as banking, passports, mobile communication, satellite TV etc. Fundamental to their success is a specialist design to offer remarkable resistance to a wide range of attacks, including physical, side-channel and fault. This talk describes a range of known attacks and the countermeasures that are employed to defeat them.

Prof. Keith Mayes is the Head of the School of Mathematics and Information Security at Royal Holloway University of London. He received his BSc (Hons) in Electronic Engineering in 1983 from the University of Bath, and his PhD degree in Digital Image Processing in 1987. He is an active researcher/author with 100+ publications in numerous conferences, books and journals. His interests include the design of secure protocols, communications architectures and security tokens as well as associated attacks/countermeasures. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Founder Associate Member of the Institute of Information Security Professionals, a Member of the Licensing Executives Society and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research (JTAER).


talk: Shukla on Predictability and Prediction of Asian Summer Monsoon, 2pm Tue 10/10

CHMPR Distinguished Lecture Series

Predictability and Prediction of Asian Summer Monsoon

Dr. Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University

2:30pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017, ITE 325, UMBC
Coffee & Tea at 2:00pm

The chaotic nature of the atmosphere puts an upper limit of about two weeks for deterministic prediction of weather. Yet, there is evidence for predictability in the midst of chaos. Societally beneficial dynamical seasonal predictions of short-term climate variations are routinely being made by modeling the interactions among atmosphere, ocean, and land processes. The first part of the seminar will review the evolution of our field from weather prediction to climate prediction.

The second part of the seminar will describe the results for prediction of Asian Summer Monsoons. It will be shown that after 50 years of climate modeling, the fidelity of climate models has improved so that it is possible to produce a skillful prediction of Asian Summer Monsoon rainfall. The seminar will give a historical overview of monsoon forecasting and will present the results of re-forecasting summer monsoon rainfall in the past 57 years (1958-2014) using the NCEP Climate Forecast System. It will be shown that if the modern day coupled climate models were available during the 1970’s, even with the limited ocean observations at that time, it should have been possible to predict the 1972-73 ENSO event and the associated severe monsoon drought over India. Finally, the prospects and future challenges for skillful dynamical seasonal prediction will be described.

J. Shukla was born in 1944 in a small village (Mirdha) in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh, India. This village had no electricity, no roads or transportation, and no primary school building. Most of his primary school education was received under a large banyan tree. He passed from the S.R.S. High School, Sheopur, in the first class with distinction in Mathematics and Sanskrit. He was unable to study science in high school because none of the schools near his village included science education. His father, the late Shri Chandra Shekhar Shukla, asked him to read all the science books for classes 6 through 10 during the summer before he was admitted to the S.C. College, Ballia, to study science. After passing the twelfth grade from S.C. College, he went to Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.) where, at the age of 18, he passed BS (honors) with Physics, Mathematics, and Geology in the first class and then earned the MS in Geophysics in the first class in 1964. He received Ph.D. in Geophysics from BHU in 1971 and ScD in Meteorology from MIT in 1976

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