NCSA 30 | NCSA leads ONR’s secure systems research center
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NCSA leads ONR’s secure systems research center

NCSA leads ONR’s secure systems research center

A new national cybersecurity research center, funded by the Office of Naval Research and led by NCSA, started up in 2003. The National Center for Advanced Secure Systems Research (NCASSR) was launched with an initial $5.7 million grant.

“In the past two years, we have all come to understand how vitally important it is for our nation to have a secure cyberinfrastructure,” said U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. “NCSA and the University of Illinois have the experts in networking, security, and datamining to lead this important effort and to put Illinois at the forefront in addressing our country’s need for cybersecurity.”

NCASSR projects focus on topics like cluster and network security, data management, analysis, and visualization, software-defined radio and wireless sensors, and supervisory control and data acquisition systems.

NCSA’s Peter Bajcsy and his team, for example, are developing a hazard award spaces prototype, which will be able to alert people in events like natural disasters and intentionally harmful human attacks. The HAS system integrates both emerging and standard sensing technologies to deliver data streams to a central location. Data analysis algorithms then detect hazards, alert humans, and analyze hazard sources. These algorithms integrate data across disparate sensing systems—for example, both wireless sensors that monitor things like temperature or structural motion and cameras that look at different spectra of light. The algorithms also reconcile when and where the data comes from a large number of sensors.

Once alerted, decision makers know when, where, and what events occur. They can use a gesture/voice/keyboard controlled robot, also being developed by the team, to confirm the presence of hazards using sensor and video feedback, as well as to attempt to contain the hazards with the robot.