ROTC Cybersecurity Training for Tomorrow’s Officers

The U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, has awarded Michigan Tech faculty researchers a $249,000 grant that supports the creation of an ROTC undergraduate science and engineering research program at Michigan Tech. The primary goal of the program is to supply prepared cadets to all military branches to serve as officers in Cyber commands.

The principal investigator (PI) of the project is Andrew Barnard, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Co-PIs are Timothy Havens, College of Computing; Laura Brown , Computer Science, and Yu Cai, Applied Computing. The title of the project is, “Defending the Nation’s Digital Frontier: Cybersecurity Training for Tomorrow’s Officers.”

The curriculum will be developed over the summer, and instruction associated with the award will begin in the fall 2020 semester. Cadets interested in joining the new program are urged to contact Andrew Barnard.

Initially, the program will focus on topics in cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data science, and remote sensing systems, all critical to the The Naval Science and Technology (S&T) Strategic Plan and the Navy’s Force of the Future, and with equal relevance in all branches of the armed forces.

The plan of work focuses on on engaging ROTC students in current and on-going Cyber research, and supports recruitment of young ROTC engineers and scientists to serve in Navy cybersecurity and cyber-systems commands. The program will compel cadets to seek positions within Cyber commands upon graduation, or pursue graduate research in Cyber fields.

“Our approach develops paid, research-based instruction for ROTC students through the existing Michigan Tech Strategic Education Naval Systems Experiences (SENSE) program,” said principal investigator Andrew Barnard, “ROTC students will receive one academic year of instruction in four Cyber domains: cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI), data science, and remote sensing systems.”

Barnard says the cohort-based program will enrich student learning through deep shared research experiences. He says the program will be designed with flexibility and agility in mind to quickly adapt to new and emerging Navy science and technology needs in the Cyber domain. 

Placement of officers in Cyber commands is of critical long-term importance to the Navy (and other DoD branches) in maintaining technological superiority, says the award abstract, noting that technological superiority directly influences the capability and safety of the warfighter.

Also closely involved in the project are Michigan Tech Air Force and Army ROTC officers Lt. Col. John O’Kane and LTC Christian Thompson, respectively.

“Unfortunately, many ROTC cadets are either unaware of Cyber related careers, or are unprepared for problems facing Cyber officers,” said Lt. Col. O’Kane. “This proposal aims to provide a steady flow of highly motivated and trained uniformed officers to the armed-services, capable of supporting the warfighter on day-one.”

Andrew Barnard is director of Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and faculty advisor to the SENSE Enterprise.

Tim Havens is director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, associate dean for research, College of Computing, and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems.

Laura Brown is an associate professor, Computer Science, director of the Data Science graduate program, and a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Yu Cai is a professor of Applied Computing, an affiliated professor of Computational Science and Engineering, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, and faculty advisor for the Red Team, which competes in the National Cyber League (NCL).

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) provides state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics. Faculty members from many departments across Michigan Technological University’s campus collaborate on interdisciplinary research, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.

The Army and Air Force have active ROTC programs on Michigan Tech’s campus.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.


Article by Tim Havens in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems

An article co-authored by Tim Havens, associate dean for research, College off Computing, “Soft Overlapping Community Detection in Large-Scale Networks via Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization,” was published in the March 2020 issue of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

Havens’s co-authors are Audrey Yazdanparast (ECE) and Mohsen Jamalabdollahi of Cisco Systems.

Article Abstract: Soft overlapping clustering is one of the notable problems of community detection. Extensive research has been conducted to develop efficient methods for non-overlapping and crisp-overlapping community detection in large-scale networks. In this paper, Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization (FFMM) for soft overlapping community detection is proposed.

FFMM exploits novel iterative equations to calculate the modularity gain associated with changing the fuzzy membership values of network vertices. The simplicity of the proposed scheme enables efficient modifications, reducing computational complexity to a linear function of the network size and the number of communities. Moreover, to further reduce the complexity of FFMM for very large networks, Multi-cycle FFMM (McFFMM) is proposed.

The proposed McFFMM reduces complexity by breaking networks into multiple sub-networks and applying FFMM to detect their communities. Performance of the proposed techniques are demonstrated with real-world data and the Lancichinetti-Fortunato-Radicchi (LFR) benchmark networks. Moreover, the performance of the proposed techniques is eval- uated versus some state-of-the-art soft overlapping community detection approaches. Results show that the McFFMM produces a remarkable performance in terms of overlapping modularity with fuzzy memberships, computational time, number of detected overlapping nodes, and Overlapping Normalized Mutual Informa- tion (ONMI).

View more info here.


Tim Havens Quoted in Enterprisers Project Article

Tim Havens, associate dean for research, College of Computing, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, was quoted in the article, “Data science vs. machine learning: What’s the difference?” published March 10, 2020, in the online publication, The Enterprisers Project.

Havens’s quotation concerns machine learning models, which the article explains are only as good as the quality of the data they learn from. Havens says, “Luckily, there are many types of problems for which lots of data exist.”

Link to the article here.

The Enterprisers Project is a community and online publication built to discuss the evolving role of the CIO and how IT leaders drive business value in a digital world. It is a collaborative effort between Harvard Business Review and Red Hat that delivers daily analysis and advice on topics ranging from emerging technologies to IT talent. Articles in the publication are written by CIOs, for CIOs and other IT executives, who share lessons learned from innovating in true partnership with the business. 


Tim Havens Is Co-author of Article in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems

Timothy Havens, director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC), is co-author of the article, “A Similarity Measure Based on Bidirectional Subsethood for Intervals,” published in the March 2020 issue of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

Havens’s co-authors are Shaily Kabir, Christian Wagner, and Derek T. Anderson.

Havens is also associate dean for research, College of Computing, and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems.

Christian Wagner, an affiliated member of the ICC, was an ICC donor-sponsored visiting professor at Michigan Tech in the 2016-17 academic year. He is now with the School of Computer Science at University of Nottingham.

Shaily Kabir is with the School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham. Derek T. Anderson is with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, University of Missouri, Columbia.

S. Kabir, C. Wagner, T. C. Havens and D. T. Anderson, “A Similarity Measure Based on Bidirectional Subsethood for Intervals,” in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9019656


Chee-Wooi Ten Awarded $25K Contract from Protect Our Power

Chee-Wooi Ten, associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and member of the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems, was recently awarded a 6 month, $25K contract from the nonpartisan advisory panel, Protect Our Power. The title of the project is, “Consulting for Utilities on Cyber Risk Management.”

The activities Ten will undertake for the project include identifying security vendors for industrial harden security hardware and software, and conducting a survey of each of the identified security vendors to enumerate their strengths and weaknesses.

Ten will talk with vendors and utilities to understand their needs, identify product niches, and prepare a conclusion report that discusses the pros and cons of each vendor product and how each niche will contribute to general solutions for deploying security solutions for U.S. power utilities.

Project deliverables include a literature review, vendor discovery search, criteria identification and definition, comparative analysis matrix, and best practices conclusion paper.

Protect Our Power is a nonpartisan advisory panel with the single focus of strengthening the nation’s electrical power grid. The panel is composed of experts from industry, the physical and cyber defense communities, and finance and government. Its mission is to build consensus among key stakeholders and public policy influencers to launch a coordinated and adequately funded effort to make the nation’s electric grid and the country’s more than 3,000 utility companies prepared and protected against all cyberthreats.


ICC Seeks Assistant Director for Research Development

The Michigan Tech Institute of Computing and Cybersytems (ICC) has announced a search for an Assistant Director, Research Development, an administrative position.

The new position will support ICC researchers as they collectively work to create and implement activities to grow and support ICC-affiliated research and graduate programs.

By collaborating with, coaching/mentoring, and supporting the work of researchers at all levels, this individual will be integral to the business development and outreach of the ICC. The successful candidate will provide pre- and post-award support to institute members, assist with the financial processes for the institute, and help lead daily administrative functions.

View the complete position description here.


Paid Research Assistant Position for Computationally-keen Grad Students

Sangyoon Han, assistant professor, Biomedical Engineering, is seeking applications for a funded research assistant position from computationally-keen graduate students who can program. Dr. Han’s research is in Computational Mechanobiology.

“We are seeking candidates with outstanding programming capability who are knowledgeable in particle tracking, inverse problem, vector field operation, machine learning, and deep learning. Masters and Ph.D. students in Data Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and related disciplines are encouraged to apply. This is a funded position.”

Interested candidates are encouraged to send an e-mail to Dr. Han at sjhan@mtu.edu. Please include a brief statement of interest and CV. For more details, visit http://hanlab.biomed.mtu.edu.

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Tim Havens Quoted in Enterprisers Project Article

ICC director Tim Havens (DataS), was quoted in the story “Artificial intelligence (AI) vs. natural language processing (NLP): What are the differences?” published February 26, 2020, in the online publication, The Enterprisers Project.

With AI, computers can learn to accomplish a task without ever being explicitly programmed to do so, says Timothy Havens, the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems in the College of Computing at Michigan Technological University and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems.

For those who prefer analogies, Havens likens the way AI works to learning to ride a bike: “You don’t tell a child to move their left foot in a circle on the left pedal in the forward direction while moving your right foot in a circle… You give them a push and tell them to keep the bike upright and pointed forward: the overall objective. They fall a few times, honing their skills each time they fail. That’s AI in a nutshell.”

The Enterprisers Project is a community and online publication built to discuss the evolving role of the CIO and how IT leaders drive business value in a digital world. It is a collaborative effort between Harvard Business Review and Red Hat that delivers daily analysis and advice on topics ranging from emerging technologies to IT talent. Articles in the publication are written by CIOs, for CIOs and other IT executives, who share lessons learned from innovating in true partnership with the business. 


Dr. Kun Zhu of MISO to Present Lecture on U.S. Power Grid, March 2

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will present a lecture by Dr. Kun Zhu on Monday, March 2, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., in EERC 501. The title of Dr. Zhu’s talk is “Power Grid Operations – Beyond Physics.

Dr. Zhu holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Iowa State University. He has 20 years’ experience in the power industry, including 17 years at MISO, an independent, not-for-profit organization that delivers safe, cost-effective electric power across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Dr. Zhu’s presentation will provide a high level introduction to how regional operators manage the power grid in the U.S. He will discuss how energy markets and balancing authorities (those responsible for maintaining the electricity balance within their respective regions) manage their regions and interact with each other; differences in how energy and transmission assets are managed; and the function of Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO).

At MISO, Dr. Zhu’s experience expands across planning, operations, and tariff administration. Currently, he is the manager of generator interconnection and chair of the SPIDER Working Group (SPIDER), a working unit of North America Electric Reliability Cooperation (NERC).  

MISO operates one of the world’s largest energy markets with more than $29 billion in annual gross market energy transactions.