Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TerraSwarm Faculty Member Rahul Mangharam Receives 2014 Benjamin Franklin Key Award

TerraSwarm faculty member Rahul Mangharam was selected to receive the  2014 Benjamin Franklin Key Award by the Philadelphia Section of the IEEE for his "outstanding technical innovation and technological contributions that have had significant practical applications."  This award is given to one or more engineers each year whose research has tangible technical and technological achievements that demonstrate intellectual, industrial, economical or human benefits.

Mangharam is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he directs the Real-Time and Embedded Systems Lab and Comcast Media Lab. His interests are in scheduling, controls and formal methods for Cyber-Physical Systems in implantable medical devices, energy-efficient buildings and automotive systems. 

For further reading, please visit:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Two University of Washington Faculty Members Join TerraSwarm

Two additional faculty members have joined the TerraSwarm Research Center.  University of Washington professors Jeff A. Bilmes and Emily B. Fox will provide their considerable talents and expertise in the area of Machine Learning.

Bilmes is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and an adjunct professor in Computer Science & Engineering and the Department of Linguistics. He is the founder of the MELODI (MachinE Learning for Optimization and Data Interpretation) lab.  His primary interests lie in statistical modeling, particularly graphical model approaches, and signal processing for pattern classification, speech recognition, language processing, bioinformatics, machine learning, submodularity in combinatorial optimization and machine learning, active and semi-supervised learning, and audio/music processing.

Bilmes expects to pursue activities that relate to Themes 3 (Services) and 4 (Tools), specifically developing methods for submodular summarization of static TerraSwarm data and new ways to summarize streaming data using submodular functions in a way that has bounded memory resources. Additionally, his research will address a fundamental question about TerraSwarm data-- that is, can statistical predictions, using modern machine learning methods, be made more cost effective using the “right” small data subset?

Emily B. Fox is the Amazon Assistant Professor of Machine Learning in the Department of Statistics. Her interests focus on Bayesc Bayesian approaches to time-series and longitudinal data analysis, with an emphasis on extensions to high-dimensional data. She 
plans to augment the capabilities of the TerraSwarm project by developing an open source software that people can use to plug in swarms of sensors of various types. 
According to Fox: "From a specified swarm of data streams, the system will parse the heterogenous recordings into event states as well as maintain compact feature-descriptors for each sensor in the swarm. To aid in interpretability, the output of the system will provide alerts when new event states are detected."
To learn more about Jeff Bilmes and Emily Fox, visit their websites:
Jeff Bilmes:
Emily Fox:

New University of Michigan Faculty Members Join TerraSwarm

TerraSwarm is pleased to announce the addition of two new University of Michigan faculty members with expertise in Privacy and Security.  Alex Halderman and Stephane Lafortune will officially come on board beginning in May.

Alex Halderman’s research focuses on problems that broadly impact society and public policy. His interests include software security, network security, data privacy, anonymity, electronic voting, censorship resistance, digital rights management, computer forensics, ethics, and cybercrime, as well as the interaction of technology with law, governmental regulation, and international affairs.
Halderman states: "Through our involvement in TerraSwarm, we hope to provide perspective on the security challenges affecting past and present systems and lay the foundations for security solutions for the Swarm that are both innovative and practically achievable. Our close collaboration with the other Swarm participants will help bridge the gap between the security and embedded systems communities and spawn broader research on security technologies that will be suitable for the future that the project envisions. At the same time, we aim to be a resource for the TerraSwarm team and help all project members better understand the security mindset."
Stephane Lafortune's general area of expertise is Systems and Control Engineering.  His research interests are in Discrete Event Systems (DES), including modeling, analysis, supervisory control, optimal control, and diagnosis of this class of dynamical systems. He is also working on applications of DES in computer and communication systems and in software systems.
According to Lafortune: "We propose to develop new techniques to assess the degree of privacy and to enforce desired privacy requirements at the level of individual users interacting with TerraSwarm applications, based on an information flow property known as opacity. This research is complementary to current privacy-preserving monitoring and control activities in Task D.3.4 and to current security analysis of TerraSwarm systems in Task D.4.3."
Their deep knowledge and understanding of security and privacy issues will be a valuable addition to the TerraSwarm team.  To learn more about Alex Halderman and Stephane Lafortune, visit their websites:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kevin Fu Comments on the Future of Windows XP in Healthcare

TerraSwarm faculty member and medical device security researcher, Kevin Fu, was interviewed by HealthcareInfoSecurity  about the recent discontinuation of Windows XP security patches and end-user support for healthcare organizations using that operating system, potentially leaving their systems vulnerable to attack.

In FierceHealthIT's website article, Fu was quoted: "Having your Windows XP machines segmented away [in separate networks] is not going to be a perfect solution, but it can at least buy you a little bit of time. In the longer view, healthcare organizations--especially hospitals--need to come up with a strategic effort to get off XP." 
"If the systems are going to be out there indefinitely with no plans to retire [them], then I think [healthcare providers] are just asking for trouble," Fu said.

To read the entire article, go to "As Windows XP security updates cease, what's next for healthcare providers?"

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vint Cerf: Universities need to start addressing security in the Internet of Things

Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet (the other one is not Al Gore), spoke about the Internet of Things.

The Security Ledger article, "Vint Cerf: CS Changes Needed to Address IoT Security, Privacy" stated:

Cerf, speaking in a public Google Hangout on Wednesday, said that he’s tremendously excited about the possibilities of an Internet of billions of connected objects, but said that securing the data stored on those devices and exchanged between them represents a challenge to the field of computer science – and one that the nation’s universities need to start addressing.

TerraSwarm is well situated to help here, our vision of the SwarmOS is to create a platform that is safe, secure,  privacy-preserving, open and universal that will unleash millions of swarm device and swarmlet developers, just as smart-phone platforms opened the door to millions of app developers. 

For more about Vince Cerf's talk, see Slashdot.

For more about Vince Cerf:

Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf[1] (/ˈsɜrf/; born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist, who is recognized as one of[5] "the fathers of the Internet",[6] sharing this title with American computer scientist Bob Kahn.[7][8

In the early days, Cerf was a program manager for the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity during the late 1980s,[citation needed] Cerf moved to MCI where he was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) connected to the Internet.
Cerf was instrumental in the funding and formation of ICANN from the start. He waited in the wings for a year before he stepped forward to join the ICANN Board, eventually becoming chairman. He was elected as the president of the Association for Computing Machinery in May 2012,[11] and in August 2013 he joined the Council on CyberSecurity's Board of Advisors.[12]
Cerf is also known for his sartorial style, typically appearing in three-piece suit—a rarity in an industry known for its casual dress norms.[13]