Supercomputing center to lead cybersecurity research effort

A new national cybersecurity research center, funded by the Office of Naval Research, will be led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, university officials announced July 1.

The National Center for Advanced Secure Systems Research will be launched with an initial $5.7 million investment.

The center will work to enhance and safeguard the computing and networking tools available to the U.S. military through a variety of projects. These projects will include developing better ways to monitor network security to prevent cyberattacks via computer worms and viruses, and the creation of radios that will allow emergency personnel from crisis response agencies to communicate more effectively.

"This initiative will ensure that our military forces and crisis response teams have the technological tools they need to safeguard our country," said Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill. "NCSA, with its years of experience in developing network infrastructure, is ideally suited to lead this crucial research."

Dan Reed, director of the supercomputing center and project director of the new cybersecurity center, said the supercomputing center's experience with cutting-edge computing systems and their application to science, engineering and policy domains, combined with the knowledge and expertise at the University of Illinois, made the supercomputing center a natural choice to lead the effort to create cybersecurity solutions.

"By combining the strengths of NCSA with those of university and national collaborators, we will be able to develop more resilient and flexible software, networks and tools ? ones suitable for use in an increasingly dangerous world," Reed said.

Most study will be performed at the new cybersecurity research center. The center's collaborating partners are Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Center for Information Systems Security Studies and Research at the Naval Postgraduate School, and InfoAssure Inc.

The center's cybersecurity projects will include:

  • Analyzing the scalability, strengths and weaknesses of authentication and authorization methods to determine the best way to ensure the privacy of real-time collaboration and information sharing.

  • Ensuring the integrity of hundreds of thousands of mobile sensors deployed for battlefield sensing, so military forces can rely on their data without concerns about misleading information planted by opposing forces.

  • Making networks safer by developing an integrated framework that will help monitors quickly determine when a network is under attack, what is being attacked and what form the attack is taking.
    The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is funded by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, private-sector partners and other federal agencies.

  • Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., is managed by the Department of Energy's Office of Science and is operated by Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio.

    The Center for Information Systems Security Studies and Research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., emphasizes study and research programs relevant to the Navy's and the Department of Defense.

    InfoAssure Inc. of Arnold, Md., provides information assurance services.

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