Archive for the ‘AISL News’ Category

AAAI Symposium on Open Government Knowledge, 4-6 Nov 2010, Arlington VA

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

If you are in the DC area this weekend and are interested in using Semantic Web technologies, you should come to the AAAI 2011 Fall Symposium on Open Government Knowledge: AI Opportunities and Challenges. It runs from Friday to Sunday midday at the he Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Virginia.

Join us to meet the thought governmental and business leaders in US open government data activities, and discuss the challenges. The symposium features Friday (Nov 4) as governmental day with speakers on Data.gov, openEi.org, open gov data activities in NIH/NCI and NASA and Saturday (Nov 5) as R&D day with speakers from industry, including Google and Microsoft, as well international researchers.

This symposium will explore how AI technologies such as the Semantic Web, information extraction, statistical analysis and machine learning, can be used to make the valuable knowledge embedded in open government data more explicit, accessible and reusable.

See the OGK website for complete details.

Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference

Monday, February 7th, 2011

UMBC, SAIC, the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Tech Council of Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development have joined to hold the Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference on October 21-22, 2001. The event is designed to increase cyber awareness as a career choice in Maryland, improve the appreciation for cyber oriented curriculum in college and high schools, and convey cyber defense as a sport to increase interest in careers involving cyber security.

The competition will be divided into high school, collegiate and professional divisions. Qualifying rounds take place over the Internet between April and August 2011 using SAIC's Cyber Network Exercise System (CyberNEXS), a scalable training, exercise and certification system.  The top eight teams in each division will meet at the MDC3 event in October for the final round followed by an award ceremony at UMBC. MDC3 participants will also be able to learn from and network with other cybersecurity professionals, researchers, and scholars at the conference, which will include presentations, a career fair and a vendor exhibition.

For more information see this press release and the SAIC MDC3 site.

UMBC hosts Frontiers of Multi-Core Computing Workshop

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

UMBC’s Multicore Computational Center will host the Second Workshop on Frontiers of Multi-Core Computing on 22-23 September 2010. The workshop will involve a wide range of people from universities, industry and government who will exchange ideas, discuss issues, and develop the strategies for coping with the challenges of parallel and multicore computing.

“Multi- (e.g., Intel Westmere and IBM Power7) and many-core (e.g., NVIDIA Tesla and AMD FireStream GPUs) microprocessors are enabling more compute- and data-intensive computation in desktop computers, clusters, and leadership supercomputers. However efficient utilization of these microprocessors is still a very challenging issue. Their differing architectures require significantly different programming paradigms when adapting real-world applications. The actual porting costs are actively debated, as well as the relative performance between GPUs and CPUs.”

The workshop is free but those interested should register online. See the workshop schedule for details on presentations and timing.

Tools for secure cloud computing

Friday, August 6th, 2010

University of Texas at Dallas AISL researchers have released software tools designed to facilitate cloud computing. “In order to use electricity, we do not maintain electricity generators at home, instead we get the electricity on demand from the grid when we need it,” says UTD Cyber Security Research Center director and AISL project CO-PI Bhavani Thuraisingham. Read the full story here

The first release of the UT Dallas team’s cloud-computing resources
feature a repository consisting of a collection of tools that provide secure query processing capabilities, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data. Tools are also being developed to add security to data storage services by storing sensitive data in encrypted format.

Creating more secure cloud computing environments

Saturday, July 10th, 2010


The Air Force recently highlighted some of our AISL MURI research done at the University of Texas in Dallas on developing solutions for maintaining privacy in cloud computing environments.

The work is part of a three year project funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research aimed at understanding the fundamentals of information sharing and developing new approaches to making it easier to do so securely.

Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham has put together a team of researchers from the UTD School of Management and its School of Economics, Policy and Political Sciences to investigate information sharing with consideration to confidentiality and privacy in cloud computing.

“We truly need an interdisciplinary approach for this,” she said. “For example, proper economic incentives need to be combined with secure tools to enable assured information sharing.”

Thuraisingham noted that cloud computing is increasingly being used to process large amounts of information. Because of this increase, some of the current technologies are being modified to be useful for that environment as well as to ensure security of a system.

To achieve their goals, the researchers are inserting new security programming directly into software programs to monitor and prevent intrusions. They have provided additional security by encrypting sensitive data that is not retrievable in its original form without accessing encryption keys. They are also using Chinese Wall, which is a set of policies that give access to information based on previously viewed data.

The scientists are using prototype systems that can store semantic web data in an encrypted form and query it securely using a web service that provides reliable capacity in the cloud. They have also introduced secure software and hardware attached to a database system that performs security functions.

Assured information sharing in cloud computing is daunting, but Thuraisingham and her team are creating both a framework and incentives that will be beneficial to the Air Force, other branches of the military and the private sector.

The next step for Thuraisingham and her fellow researchers is examining how their framework operates in practice.

“We plan to run some experiments using online social network applications to see how various security and incentive measures affect information sharing,” she said.

Thuraisingham is especially glad that AFOSR had the vision to fund such an initiative that is now becoming international in its scope.

“We are now organizing a collaborative, international dimension to this project by involving researchers from Kings College, University of London, University of Insubria in Italy and UTD related to secure query processing strategies,” said AFOSR program manager, Dr. Robert Herklotz.

ICWSM best paper award for work on study of online social dynamics

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

A paper by AISL CO-PI Lada Adamic and her students received a best paper award from the Fourth International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. The paper studied how online social structures effected economic activity in Second Life, a massively multiplayer virtual world that allows its users to create and trade virtual objects and commodities.

The rise of online social environments like Second Life are important for information sharing for two reasons. First, the provide researchers with an opportunity to easily collect vast amounts of data about the behavior of real people. Such data is invaluable in developing and testing new models to better understand the factors that underlie information sharing behavior. Second, online social environments have become an important way that people interact to share information. Understanding how they work and can be better managed is important.

Dr. Adamic and her students estimated the strength of social ties in Second Life using the frequency of chatting between pairs of users. They found that free items are more likely to be exchanged as the strength of the tie increases and that social ties particularly play a significant role in paid transactions for sellers with a moderately sized customer base. They also developed a novel method of visualizing the transaction activities.

Eytan Bakshy, Matthew Simmons, David Huffaker, ChunYuen Teng, Lada Adamic, The Social Dynamics of Economic Activity in a Virtual World, Fourth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, May 2010.

This paper examines social structures underlying economic activity in Second Life (SL), a massively multiplayer virtual world that allows users to create and trade virtual objects and commodities. We find that users conduct many of their transactions both within their social networks and within groups. Using frequency of chat as a proxy of tie strength, we observe that free items are more likely to be exchanged as the strength of the tie increases. Social ties particularly play a significant role in paid transactions for sellers with a moderately sized customer base. We further find that sellers enjoying repeat business are likely to be selling to niche markets, because their customers tend to be contained in a smaller number of groups. But while social structure and interaction can help explain a seller’s revenues and repeat business, they provide little information in the forecasting a seller’s future performance. Our quantitative analysis is complemented by a novel method of visualizing the transaction activity of a seller, including revenue, customer base growth, and repeat business.

Han on Mining Knowledge from Databases

Monday, May 24th, 2010

AISL CO-PI Jiawei of the University of Illinois gave an invited talk at Microsoft Research on “Mining Knowledge from Databases: An Information Network Analysis Approach”. View the video of the talk and slides from the link below. Here is the abstract of the talk, which lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes.

“Most people consider a database is merely a data repository that supports data storage and retrieval.
Actually, a database contains rich, inter-related, multi-typed data and information, forming one or a set of gigantic, interconnected, heterogeneous information networks. Much knowledge can be derived from such information networks if we systematically develop an effective and scalable database-oriented information network analysis technology.
In this talk, we introduce database-oriented information network analysis methods and demonstrate how information networks can be used to improve data quality and consistency, facilitate data integration, and generate interesting knowledge. Moreover, we present interesting case studies on real datasets, including DBLP and Flickr, and show how interesting and organized knowledge can be generated from database-oriented information networks.”

Scantegrity voter verifiable voting system used in Takoma Park election

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Scantegrity voter verifiable voting systemYesterday was the first time a truly voter verifiable voting system was used in any binding government election, thanks in part to work being carried out at UMBC’s Cyber Defense Lab under the direction of Alan Sherman.

Takoma Park, MD used the Scantegrity system for its municipal election after testing it in a mock election last April. Technology Review has a story, First Test for Election Cryptography, that quotes Anne Sergeant, the chair of the Takoma Park board of elections

“Before trying Scantegrity in an official election, the city held a mock vote in April to work out kinks in the system. In that test, she says, about 30 percent of participants went home and used the system to verify their votes. Sergeant says that Scantegrity representatives talked extensively with voters and election officials after the April test and have improved their system accordingly. “I hope we can provide an experience where people walk away and say, ‘That was awesome,’” she says. “It’s a goal to which we aspire.”

The Scantegrity system was created by a group of universities, including UMBC. A voter uses a paper ballot marked with invisible ink, which is exposed with a special marker. That marker reveals a code, which the voter can then use to check online whether their vote was tabulated correctly.

Ben Adida has been auditing the election and documenting the process on his blog.

See also E-voting system lets voters verify their ballots are counted.

Elisa Bertino new chair of ACM SIG on Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC)

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Elisa BertinoAISL CO-PI Elisa Bertino has been elected chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC) for a one year term bebinning.

She is professor at the Department of Computer Science, Purdue University and Research Director of CERIAS. Her main research interests cover many areas in the fields of information security and database systems. Her research combines both theoretical and practical aspects, addressing as well applications on a number of domains, such as medicine and humanities.

SIGSAC’s mission is to develop the information security profession by sponsoring high quality research conferences and workshops. SIGSAC conferences addresses all aspects of information and system security, encompassing security technologies, secure systems, security applications and security policies. Security technologies include access control, assurance, authentication, cryptography, intrusion detection, penetration techniques, risk analysis and secure protocols. Security systems include security in operating systems, database systems, networks and distributed systems and middleware. Representative security applications areas are information systems, workflow systems, electronic commerce, electronic cash, copyright and intellectual property protection, telecommunications systems and healthcare. Security policies encompass confidentiality, integrity, availability, privacy, and survivability policies, including trade-off and conflicts amongst these.

Ravi Sandhu is new Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Ravi SandhuCongratulations to AISL CO-PI Ravi Sandhu, who was appointed Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing (TDSC). His term will start on January 1, 2010. TDSC is a quarterly journal for archival research results on the foundations, methodologies, and mechanisms supporting the design of systems and networks that are dependable and secure without compromising performance.

Ravi Sandhu is Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Cyber Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he holds the Lutcher Brown Endowed Chair in Cyber Security and courtesy appointments in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Information Systems. He previously served on the Information Security faculty at George Mason University (1989-2007) and the Computer Science faculty at Ohio State University (1982-1989). Ravi received B.Tech. and M.Tech. degrees in EE from IIT Bombay and Delhi respectively, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in CS from Rutgers University. He is a Fellow of ACM (2001), IEEE (2002), and AAAS (2008), recipient of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award (2004), the ACM SIGSAC Outstanding Contribution Award (2008), and two Best Paper awards from NIST/NSA (1992, 1998).