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Research Projects

While the ubiquitous computing and communication systems have dramatically changed the way people think, work and interact, the information technology era continues to be plagued by insufficient security. Our recent research on cyber security focuses on (1) trust management (2) trustworthy social computing, (3) US power grid security, (4) trustworthy cyber-physical biomedical systems, and (5) wireless network security and reliability.

Trust Management

When network participants do not know how to trust each other, network operations suffer. Participants that naïvely trust will be victimized and their resources misused. Mistrustful participants will ignore opportunities and their resources will be wasted through inefficiencies. Current research on the establishment of trust often focuses on narrow models and specific domains. There is a gap between point solutions and a system-wide trust infrastructure. This research addresses the major issues in designing such a trust infrastructure. In particular, what are the threat models for a trust infrastructure? How should those threats be mitigated? What is the meaning of trust, its properties, and measurement? Where and how should trusts in applications and across networks be managed?

Trustworthy Social Computing

Word-of-mouth, one of the most ancient mechanisms in the history of human society, is gaining new significance in online social network. The online reputation systems, also known as the on-line feedback mechanisms, are creating large scale, virtual word-of-mouth networks in which individuals share opinions and experiences on a wide range of topics, including products, companies, digital content and even other people. Meanwhile, the manipulation of such systems is rapidly growing. This research provides innovate methods to deal with dishonest feedback in online reputation systems, which has been recognized as an important and challenging problem in both academia and industry.

US Power Grid Security

Securing US power grid is critically important to homeland security. In this project, we aim to tackle an essential aspect of the power grid security: cascading failures and advanced attack and defense schemes. Specifically, the major goals of this project include three aspects. The first goal is to advance the fundamental understanding and principles of innovative network research for smart grid development to enhance the robustness, security, and reliability of such a critical complex system. The second goal is development of complex and advanced attack/defense strategies, ranging from single-node attack, multi-node attack, to spatial-temporal attacks to analyze the grid vulnerability. This will provide critical insights and guidelines for designing defense solutions that improve the grid robustness, security, and reliability. The third is development of an integrated smart grid security test bed with the integration of PowerMap database (including all North America electrical infrastructure), modeling and simulation toolsets, and data visualization capability.

Trustworthy Biomedical Cyber-Physical Systems

An estimated 623,000 people were living with major lower-limb amputation in the United States in 2005, a number which will continue to grow as the population ages and as the incidence of dysvascular disease increases in coming years. The objective of this research is developing a trustworthy and high-performance neural-machine interface (NMI) that accurately determines a user’s locomotion mode in real-time for neural-controlled artificial legs. The proposed approach is designing the NMI by integrating a new pattern recognition strategy and a trustworthiness assurance mechanism with a high-performance computing embedded system. This research has ensured security and reliability of the proposed NMI such that the safety of the patients can be guaranteed even if certain hardware components fail or lose calibration.

Wireless Network Security and Reliability

Reliability modeling and analysis are key contributors to the design of critical computer-based engineering systems. Monitoring and control systems that are based on networked wireless sensors have been recognized as an indivisible component for current and future smart systems in many applications. From the viewpoint of researchers, developers and even consumers, reliability analysis is an indispensable step before the wireless sensor network (WSN) systems can be widely deployed for mission-critical applications. However, there is a big gap between traditional network reliability theories and realities in WSN, where network connectivity, sensor capability, deployment strategy, physical environment, and threats from malicious parties all play significant roles in the system reliability. My research aims to close such gaps through new reliability metrics, models, threat analysis, and approaches for WSN, ultimately assisting the design and operation of reliable and secure WSN.

 

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