NSF announces latest round of cyber-research funding

Two research centers that will apply the techniques of life sciences to Internet security are among 33 new projects the National Science Foundation will fund in its latest round of grants in the Cyber Trust Program.

A team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh will use the tools of ecology to better understand interactions within and between networks to identify malicious anomalies. A team at the University of California at San Diego will borrow from epidemiology to examine how worms propagate.

The two programs are among 33 new projects receiving grants totalling $30 million under the Cyber Trust Program. Other projects include methods for detecting tampering in digital photos, improving cyber forensics tools, evaluating biometric identification techniques, and defending against malicious code and denial-of-service attacks.

Other projects include methods for detecting tampering in digital photos, improving cyberforensics tools, evaluating biometric identification techniques and defending against malicious code and denial-of-service attacks.

Mike Reiter, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, will lead the Security Through Interaction Modeling Center at the university. It will focus on understanding the networks of interactions among humans, computers and malicious code. This understanding could help in the early identification and defense against attacks.

The five-year program is expected to receive $6.4 million.

Stefan Savage of UCSD and Vern Paxson of the International Computer Science Institute, affiliated with UC Berkley, will lead the Center for Internet Epidemiology and Defenses. It will study propagation of Internet worms with an eye toward early identification of outbreaks and development of techniques and devices to suppress them. The program is expected to receive $6.2 million over five years.

Results from both research centers will be available for incorporation into education programs from kindergarten through post-graduate levels.

The Cyber Trust is a program of NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. It promotes research into dependable and secure computer and network systems.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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