Archives—July 2019

Computer Science Faculty Students Attend Innovation and Technology Conference

Computer Science doctoral candidate Briana Bettin

The College of Computing and the Computer Science Department were well represented at the 24th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education  (ITiCSE 19), July 14-17, at University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Senior Lecturer Leo Ureel, along with  James Heliotis,  professor of computer science at Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology, led a working group titled, “Towards an Ability to Direct College Students to an Appropriately Paced Introductory Computer Science Course.” Professor Linda Ott and Associate Professor Charles Wallace participated in the working group, “1.5 Degrees of Separation: Computer Science Education in the Age of the Anthropocene.”

PhD student Briana Bettin presented her paper, “More Effective Contextualization of CS Education Research: A Pair-Programming Example,” co-authored with Linda Ott and Leo Ureel.  Charles Wallace presented his poster, “A Prototype MATLAB Code Critiquer,” co-authored with Leo Ureel and undergraduate computer science student Marissa Walther.  Associate Professor Jean Mayo (ICC/CyberS) presented, ” Teaching Integer Security Using Simple Visualizations,” co-authored with Lecturer James Walker, recent PhD graduate Man Wang, Adjunct Professor and Professor and Chair of Computer Science at Western Michigan University Steven Carr, and Professor Ching-Kuang Shene.  Also attending the conference was computer science undergraduate Miriam Eikenberry-Ureel.

 


Bo Chen is PI of $200K NSF Research and Development Grant

Bo Chen, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Bo Chen (Comp Sci/ICC) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $199,975 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “EAGER: Enabling Secure Data Recovery for Mobile Devices Against Malicious Attacks.” This is a potential two-year project.

Abstract: Mainstream mobile computing devices like smart phones and tablets currently rely on remote backups for data recovery upon failures. For example, an iPhone periodically stores a recent snapshot to iCloud, and can get restored if needed. Such a commonly used “off-device” backup mechanism, however, suffers from a fundamental limitation that, the backup in the remote server is not always synchronized with data stored in the local device. Therefore, when a mobile device suffers from a malware attack, it can only be restored to a historical state using the remote backup, rather than the exact state right before the attack occurs. Data are extremely valuable for both organizations and individuals, and thus after the malware attack, it is of paramount importance to restore the data to the exact point (i.e., the corruption point) right before they are corrupted. This, however, is a challenging problem. The project addresses this problem in mobile devices and its outcome could benefit billions of mobile users.

A primary goal of the project is to enable recovery of mobile devices to the corruption point after malware attacks. The malware being considered is the OS-level malware which can compromise the OS and obtain the OS-level privilege. To achieve this goal, the project combines both the traditional off-device data recovery and a novel in-device data recovery. Especially, the following research activities are undertaken: 1) Designing a novel malware detector which runs in flash translation layer (FTL), a firmware layer staying between OS and flash memory hardware. The FTL-based malware detector ensures that data being committed to the remote server will not be tampered with by the OS-level malware. 2) Developing a novel approach which ensures that the OS-level malware is not able to corrupt data changes (i.e., delta) which have not yet been committed to the remote server. This is achieved by hiding the delta in the flash memory using flash storage’s special hardware features, i.e., out-of-place update and strong physical isolation. 3) Developing a user-friendly approach which can allow users to conveniently and efficiently retrieve the delta hidden in the flash memory for data recovery after malware attacks.

Link to an Unscripted article about related research at  https://www.mtu.edu/unscripted/stories/2018/march/how-to-speed-up-bare-metal-malware-analysis-and-better-protect-mobile-devices.html.


Welcome and Invite to Reunion Celebration on Friday, August 2

Adrienne Minerick

Dear Alumni, Colleagues and Friends,

Welcome to Michigan Tech’s new College of Computing! By now you’ve received the latest Michigan Tech magazine and have read the announcement of Michigan Tech’s newest college. This is an exciting time at Michigan Tech as we reimagine existing programs, add new majors, and pursue innovative new initiatives to prepare our graduates—and Michigan Tech—for Industry 4.0!

As you saw in the magazine, Michigan Tech embraces an exciting, diverse learning and research community. Computing and information science are an essential part of it all. Computing skills and computational thinking are essential in virtually all fields and job markets today, and Michigan Tech’s College of Computing is in position to ensure all our graduates are prepared, comfortable, and agile in a world in which cyber-technologies influence virtually everything.

The new College of Computing (CC) merges a talented, forward-thinking, innovative group of faculty and staff. We oversee core undergraduate degrees in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA), Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Software Engineering, with minors in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, and Data Acquisition and Industrial Control.  Our graduate degrees include Computer Science (MS and PhD), Cybersecurity, Data Science, Health Informatics, and Mechatronics. On the research front, CC faculty and students are developing innovative software and hardware solutions to address today’s societal, technological, and sustainable challenges. Visit www.mtu.edu/computing to learn more.

I am pleased to introduce myself as the founding Dean of the College of Computing, effective July 1, 2019. It is an honor to help launch the College of Computing and assist in positioning Michigan Tech for this new era.

By way of my background, I am a chemical engineering BS graduate of Michigan Tech (’98); I completed my MS and PhD in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame du lac (USA). I returned to Michigan Tech in 2010, and am currently a Professor of Chemical Engineering. I have also served the University as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation for the College of Engineering, Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development, and Dean of the School of Technology.

As you may know, Michigan Tech’s Alumni Reunion is just around the corner, August 1-3, 2019. Graduates from all years and majors are welcome, and we sincerely hope to reconnect with many of you—our computing/software and electronics/robotics alumni!

At a special celebration Friday, August 2, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., we’ll be sharing additional information about the College of Computing, and showing off some of our senior design projects. It is our hope that you’ll gain a few new and fun memories at this event.  Please join us outside Rekhi Hall (weather permitting) or on the second floor of Rekhi Hall for this wonderful opportunity to catch up with everyone and share your best—and perhaps even some of your worst—Michigan Tech memories! Ice cream and light refreshments will be served. The event is free and guests and family members are welcome.

Please let us know if you’re able to attend this College of Computing event, and register for the Reunion, at www.mtu.edu/alumni/connect/reunion. We look forward to seeing you in Houghton!

Best regards,

Adrienne Minerick, PhD

Dean, College of Computing


Ali Ebnenasir is Co-Author of Publication in ACM Transactions on Computational Logic

Ali Ebnenasir
Ali Ebnenasir

An article co-authored by Ali Ebnenasir (SAS/CS) and Alex Klinkhamer, “Verification of Livelock-Freedom and Self-Stabilization on Parameterized Rings,” was recently published in ACM Transactions on Computational Logic.

Abstract: This article investigates the verification of livelock-freedom and self-stabilization on parameterized rings consisting of symmetric, constant space, deterministic, and self-disabling processes. The results of this article have a significant impact on several fields, including scalable distributed systems, resilient and self-* systems, and verification of parameterized systems. First, we identify necessary and sufficient local conditions for the existence of global livelocks in parameterized unidirectional rings with unbounded (but finite) number of processes under the interleaving semantics. Using a reduction from the periodic domino problem, we show that, in general, verifying livelock-freedom of parameterized unidirectional rings is undecidable (specifically, Π10-complete) even for constant space, deterministic, and self-disabling processes. This result implies that verifying self-stabilization for parameterized rings of self-disabling processes is also undecidable. We also show that verifying livelock-freedom and self-stabilization remain undecidable under (1) synchronous execution semantics, (2) the FIFO consistency model, and (3) any scheduling policy. We then present a new scope-based method for detecting and constructing livelocks in parameterized rings. The proposed semi-algorithm behind our scope-based verification is based on a novel paradigm for the detection of livelocks that totally circumvents state space exploration. Our experimental results on an implementation of the proposed semi-algorithm are very promising as we have found livelocks in parameterized rings in a few microseconds on a regular laptop. The results of this article have significant implications for scalable distributed systems with cyclic topologies.

https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3326456&dl=ACM&coll=DL

doi: 10.1145/3326456