Category: News

Xinyu Lei, Michigan State, to Present Talk April 29

Xinyu Lei, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, will present a talk on Thursday, April 29, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

In his talk, “Secure and Efficient Queries Processing in Cloud Computing,” Lei will discuss his work developing new techniques to support secure and efficient queries processing in cloud storage.

Title

Secure and Efficient Queries Processing in Cloud Computing

Abstract

With the advent of cloud computing, data owners are motivated to outsource their databases to the commercial public cloud for storage. The public cloud with database-as-a-service (DBaaS) model has many benefits (including lower cost, better performance, and higher flexibility). However, hosting the datasets on the commercial public cloud deprives the data owners’ direct control over their databases, which brings in security concerns. For example, the corrupted cloud employees may spy the data owner’s commercial valuable databases and sell them for money. To protect data privacy, the sensitive database must be encrypted before outsourcing to the cloud. However, it becomes hard to perform efficient queries (e.g., keyword query) processing over the encrypted database.

In this talk, I focus on developing new techniques to support secure and efficient queries processing in cloud storage. An index-aid approach is proposed to address the problem. In my approach, the data items are formally encrypted, and a secure index is generated for efficient queries processing. The cloud can perform queries directly over the secure index rather than the encrypted data items. The secure index is constructed based on a new data structure named random Bloom filter. Then, multiple random Bloom filters are organized into a binary tree structure to support fast query processing. The proposed approach can achieve data privacy, index privacy, search token privacy, and fast query processing simultaneously.

Biography

Xinyu Lei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer science and Engineering at Michigan State University. He once worked as a research assistant in Texas A&M University at Qatar and Ford Motor Company. He has research interests in cybersecurity problems in different computer systems (including IoT, blockchain, cloud computing). He has published 20+ papers with 600+ citations. His work has been published on top-tier conferences and journals such as ACM MobiSys, ACM CodaSpy, IEEE ICDE, IEEE ICDCS, etc.


Graduate Research Colloquium, April 1-2, 2021


Two College of Computing-affiliated graduate students presented their research at the Graduate Research Colloquium, which took place April 1-2, 2021. View all the research here.

Karen Colbert – Social Sciences

Cultural Competence Effects of Repeated Implicit Bias Training

Diversity training literature suggests that mandatory and recurrent sessions should maximize training efficacy, but research has primarily focused on single, brief training sessions that are often voluntary. Michigan Tech is one of few universities to implement required and repeated diversity training for all faculty who serve on search, tenure, and promotion committees. The goal of this study is to evaluate the training’s effectiveness, as well as to fill the gap in research on mandatory recurring diversity training. To do this, we anonymously surveyed faculty members on their knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to content from the Diversity Literacy program and scored responses to create a single composite score for each participant. We hypothesized that composite Cultural Competency Score (CCS) would be higher for faculty who 1) have taken more refresher trainings, and 2) c ompleted trainingmore recently. This study included 130 total respondents (large sample), 69 of whom provided their Diversity Literacy completion information anonymously through Human Resources (small sample). Composite CCS did not differ significantly by frequency of training, H(2)=3.78, p=.151. CCS did differ significantly by years since last training, F(2,63)=4.436, p=.016. Results from both large and small groups showed no statistical significant relationship between CCS and faculty committee service. CCS was negatively correlated with years employed at Tech in both the large (r=-0.363, p=0.002) and small (r = -0.258, p=0.01) samples. This relationship between low CCS and longer employment at Tech may additionally be related to the Diversity Literacy program’s implementation in 2010. Qualitative responses were also collected regarding training material that faculty found most

Meara Pellar-Kosbar – Data Science

Simulating the Spread of Infectious Diseases

This simulation is designed to show how a fictional viral illness could spread among people in a virtual room. Over the course of the virtual simulation, a number of automatic simulated people called subjects will move about an adjustable virtual grid. During this time, subjects will come into contact with each other and with item cells in the virtual room. Subjects will be exposed to this fictional virus via contact with other subjects, items, and via the air when within a certain distance of a contagious subject. The viral counts of each subject will be tracked and shown as the simulation


Two MTU Programs Ranked by Intelligent.com

Intelligent.com, a resource for ranking online degree rankings and higher education planning, has placed two Michigan Tech online graduate programs on its lists of the nation’s best.

Michigan Tech is on Intelligent.com’s list of Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Degree programs. The website analyzed 181 schools on a scale of 0 to 100, with 29 making the final list. Michigan Tech’s online Master’s in Civil Engineering ranked #21 on the list.

Michigan Tech was also on Intelligent.com’s list of the Best Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs. The website assessed 190 colleges and universities with 424 education programs compared. Once again, programs were scored on a scale of 0 to 100 with a total of 41 programs making the list. Michigan Tech’s online master’s in electrical engineering program was ranked #28 on the list.


GSG Executive Board for the 2021/22 Session

by Graduate Student Government

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) to announced the executive board members for the 2021/22 session:

  • President — Nathan Ford, PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics 
  • Vice-President — Ranit Karmakar, PhD Student in Electrical & Computer Engineering 
  • Secretary — Divya Pandya, PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics 
  • Treasurer — Michael Conard, PhD Student in Computer Science
  • Research Chair — Shreya Joshi, PhD Student in Physics
  • Professional Development Chair — Umair Riyas, MS Student in Engineering Management, College of Business
  • Social Chair — Eric Pearson, PhD Student in Chemical Engineering
  • Public Relations Chair — Laura Vidal Chiesa, PhD Student in Humanities 

The new executive board will begin its term on May 1, 2021.


Tara Salman, Washington Univ., to Present Talk April 27

Tara Salman, a final-year PhD candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, will present a talk on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

In her talk, “A Collaborative Knowledge-Based Security Solution using Blockchains,” she will present her work on redesigning the blockchains and building a collaborative, distributed, intelligent, and hostile solution that can be used for security purposes.

Talk Title

A Collaborative Knowledge-Based Security Solution using Blockchains

Talk Abstract

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have recently gained wide adaptation in building intelligent yet simple and proactive security solutions such as intrusion identification, malware detection, and threat intelligence. With the increased risk and severity of cyber-attacks and the distributed nature of modern threats and vulnerabilities, it becomes critical to pose a distributed intelligent solution that evaluates the systems’ and networks’ security collaboratively. Blockchain, as a decade-old successful distributed ledger technology, has the potential to build such collaborative solutions. However, to be used for such solutions, the technology needs to be extended so that it can intelligently process the stored information and achieve a collective decision about security risks or threats that might target a system.

In this talk, I will present our work on redesigning the blockchains and build a collaborative, distributed, intelligent, and hostile solution that can be used for security purposes. In particular, we will discuss our work on (1) extending blockchains for general collaborative decision-making applications, where knowledge should be made out of decisions, risks, or any information stored on the blockchain; (2) applying the proposed extensions to security applications such as malware detection and threat intelligence.

Biography

Tara Salman is a final year Ph.D. candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is advised by Raj Jain. She previously received her MS and BSc degrees from Qatar University in 2015 and 2012, respectively. Her research aims to integrate state-of-the-art technologies to provide scalable, collaborative, and intelligent cybersecurity solutions.

Her recent work focuses on the intersection of artificial intelligence, blockchains, and security applications. The work spans several fields, including blockchain technology, security, machine learning, and deep learning applications, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. She has been selected for the EECS Rising Star in UC Berkeley 2020. Her research has been published in more than twenty internationally recognized conferences and journals and supported by national and international funds.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase, Todd Arney, Applied Computing


by Michael R. Meyer – Director, William G. Jackson CTL

Dennis Livesay , Dean of the College of Computing, has selected Todd Arney, Senior Lecturer in Applied Computing, as our twelfth-week Deans’ Teaching Showcase member.

Arney, an inaugural winner of the Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence in 2020, has a long record of outstanding teaching. But, this time, Applied Computing Chair Dan Fuhrmann, while acknowledging that Todd continues to teach a “substantial load” at an “exceptionally high level of quality,” recommended Arney for his behind-the-scenes “efforts to modernize the curricula in the Department of Applied Computing, and to enhance the use of state-of-the-art computing resources across campus, through the use of our new Virtual Cluster.”

Fuhrmann notes the changes in instruction required by the pandemic made Arney’s work a particular “godsend” because it enabled remote teaching. But he emphasizes that “it facilitated a vast improvement in student experience, in comparison to the aging educational computing hardware in the Computer Network and Systems Administration program that preceded it.”

Fuhrmann calls Arney an “evangelist” for the Virtual Cluster and notes that in addition to its implementation within the CNSA and Cybersecurity programs, Arney has made special efforts to reach out to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, bringing a modern computing framework to one of their senior/graduate courses, CEE 4610/5610 (Water Resources System Modeling and Design).

He also worked with AC Academic Advisor Kay Oliver, the instructor for SAT 1090 (Introduction to Applied Computing), to provide introductions on cybersecurity and privacy frameworks for the students to use as a common language for their group work discussions on project design using micro:bit hardware to solve real-world problems.

Currently, Arney is working on additional collaborations with Mechatronics faculty, two senior design projects, and two new faculty members in the College of Computing to help support their courses using the cluster. Fuhrmann emphasizes that “Bringing new resources into our educational programs does not happen overnight, and it does not happen without knowledgeable, dedicated faculty members who see the potential and who make the necessary effort to upgrade the curriculum to take advantage of those resources. Todd Arney is that person in the Department of Applied Computing.”

In choosing Arney, Dean Livesay heartily agrees, noting, “Ensuring that our students have access to the latest technology is time-consuming and represents work that isn’t acknowledged as regularly as it should be. As such, we’re especially proud to recognize Todd’s accomplishments in deploying virtual machines broadly in our classes, and helping others do the same in theirs.”

Arney will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members, and is also a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series (to be determined this summer) recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.