Purdue Polytechnic’s holistic safety and security research projects receive national attention, funding

This is the first in a series of articles describing and updating the impact areas of the college’s socio-technical research for 2021.

Researchers at Purdue Polytechnic’s Holistic Security and Safety Impact Team (HSS) have worked to address cybersecurity and critical infrastructure challenges affecting the global economy, security and health, working with stakeholders both from the public and private sectors.

Since 2018, teachers with experience in autonomous systems, cybersecurity, human factors, physical security, sustainability, systems and networks and transportation have collaborated to provide police agencies with tools for a faster and more effective response to incidents. They also sought to reduce the number of cyberattacks, lessen their impact on victims, and enact evidence-based policies that contribute to security.

For the 2021-2022 academic year and beyond, the professors of the research team plan to continue down the same path.

“Security and safety are major concerns in almost every effort,” said Chad Laux, associate professor of computer science and information technology and co-leader of the impact area of ​​the Polytechnic’s HSS research. “While our approach remains the same, HSS has expanded to cover a wider area and work on projects with more impact.”

Population growth and innovation are driving increasingly complex socio-technical infrastructures. The sustainability and resilience of the system is needed and research is continuing on the security, potential threats and security of people and systems. The research team works to bridge the differences between theory and application.

“Many Polytechnic researchers have strong practical experiences working in the industry,” said Yingjie “Victor” Chen, associate professor of computer graphics technology and co-director of the impact area of ​​HSS research. “Not only do we care about the science behind technology, but also how people use it. That is why safety and security are the main concerns. ”

Victor Chen’s research team is developing

Notable recent grants and projects

Laux said HSS team members have received significant financial grants to support their research projects.

Mesut Akdere, professor of human resource development and interim associate dean for research, and Jin Wei-Kocsis and Umit Karabiyik, adjunct professors of computer science and information technology, received a $ 1.5 million grant. of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Ciber Resilience Adaptive Virtual Reality Experiences (CRAVRE). “In collaboration with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, researchers are developing an artificial intelligence-driven virtual reality-based training program that will help public safety officials respond and recover of the cyberattacks created by Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Kate Seigfried-Spellar and Baijian “Justin” Yang, associate professors of computer science and information technology, John Springer, professor of computer science and information technology, and Marcus Rogers, associate dean of cybersecurity initiatives, received 400,973 dollars by the National Institute of Justice for “FileTSAR +, a set of forensic tools for law enforcement.” The project is designed to complement his previous work on FileTSAR (Toolkit for Selective Analysis & Reconstruction of Files), a set of free and all-in-one cybersecurity tools for digital forensic examiners that captures network traffic and restores digital evidence in large enterprise network configurations.more than 5,000 computers.

“FileTSAR attracted police agencies from around the world,” Seigfried-Spellar said. “FileTSAR + will be more resilient, providing benefits to agencies at the state and local level that have lower budgets and more limited storage and back-end support capabilities.”

Victor Chen of the Polytechnic, with Wen Jiang, professor of biological sciences, and his project team received a total of $ 734,000 from the National Institutes of Health for “Increased virtual reality cryo-MS training,” a tool for training to familiarize users with cryo- electron microscopy equipment (cri-EM) such as microscopes and sample preparation equipment. Cryo-EM is a biophysical technique that can be used to determine the structure of macromolecules and biological assemblies.

Recent advances in the field are raising hopes that cry-MS can become an important tool for drug discovery, but increased attention has exposed the weaknesses of the training available to researchers.

“By introducing new users to equipment through virtual reality (VR), the costly materials normally used in cryoelectron microscopy will not be harmed,” Chen’s research team said. “The use of VR also preserves the availability of regular instruments for urgent projects during training, which has been a major obstacle. Our project provides a safe, easy-to-access and cost-effective cryo-MS training tool to help new scientists become familiar with the equipment. ”


Holistic security and safety researchers also won two SaTC-EDU (Safe and Reliable Cyberspace) EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grants from the National Science Foundation to study artificial intelligence and cybersecurity interceptions. Yang, former co-director of the impact area of ​​the Polytechnic’s HSS research, reported that the Purdue University Polytechnic Institute was the only college in the United States to obtain funding for two proposals.

Chen’s co-authored publications were accepted by the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), a conference considered one of the most important in his field, and the conference of the Association for the Advancement of Intelligence. Artificial license. Chen’s publications were “G-Net: Spatial Granularity Net-work for Multi-Object Tracking and Segmentation” (CVPR 2021) and “DenserNet: Weak Visual Location Monitored by Multi-Scale Function Aggregation” (35th Conference AAAI on Artificial Intelligence).

“These high-ranking, high-impact conferences accept less than one in four presentations,” Yang said, “and most of the presentations come from the world’s best computer and engineering schools. We must celebrate the success of Victor in this research space ”.

“Weekly writing” as a team

Polytechnic HSS team members began holding a “weekly written” group meeting, a unique solution to help them balance their responsibilities as researchers at a top-tier research university with their function of teachers for undergraduate students.

“We meet each week at a specific time and place to focus on tasks related to our research,” Seigfried-Spellar said. “It is a time dedicated to calmly focusing on writing proposals, articles, book chapters or literature reviews, without qualifications or emails allowed. The team members who have participated love it and we hope they get the most out of the opportunity. It adds a sense of teamwork to a solo task because it’s easy to find an ear on which to blow an idea. ”

Opportunities for collaboration

The continued growth of Purdue Polytechnic could lead to new opportunities for collaboration, the research team said.

“With so many new professors joining the university, we want to attract new members to our team,” Chen said, “and we hope the community at large is more aware of our holistic safety research.”

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