Information Trust Institute Faculty Named as Fellows of the IEEE
Three professors in the Information Trust Institute (ITI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named Fellows by the IEEE, which is regarded as the world's leading professional organization for engineers. The 2008 class of new IEEE Fellows includes Professor Klara Nahrstedt, Professor Geir E. Dullerud, and the late Professor Jennifer Hou.
IEEE uses the Fellow designation to recognize "unusual distinction in the profession" and is given to individuals found to have made exceptional contributions in IEEE fields of interest. According to IEEE, "the accomplishments that are being honored shall have contributed importantly to the advancement or application of engineering, science, and technology, bringing the realization of significant value to society."
Molly Tracy, Associate Director of ITI, praised the three recipients. "ITI is very proud of the strength and expertise of our faculty. The recent designation of these three professors as IEEE Fellows contributes to the ongoing global recognition of the excellence of cyber trust and security research at Illinois. Their contributions are greatly valued."
Professor Klara Nahrstedt, who is on the faculty of the Department of Computer Science and is ITI's theme leader in trustworthy Multimedia and Distributed Systems, was honored by the IEEE "for contributions to end-to-end quality of service management of multimedia systems." Her work on end-to-end quality of service addresses distributed algorithms, networking protocols, resource management mechanisms, and Internet communication architectures needed to differentiate quality and provide appropriate kinds of quality to end users of applications that involve multimedia traffic in distributed systems. For example, an IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) system that streams entertainment videos and digital television over the Internet will require high speed and a high rate of data delivery, but will not need high security or high information accuracy; in contrast, an online query system on streams of stock prices within a bank's financial system will require high levels of information security and accuracy, but will not need a very high speed of delivery.
Nahrstedt is also working on the integrated cross-layer resource management and differentiation algorithms for quality of service and quality of protection within mobile ad hoc networks. She applies the results to first-responder mobile ad hoc systems that can be used by fire, police, and medical personnel in an unstructured disaster area. The challenge is to allow multiple agencies to communicate reliably with each other without compromising security. "Different agencies have very different priorities and very different goals," she explained. "Medical personnel want to save lives. The police want to secure evidence. For the medical personnel, real-time information delivery is very important, but they have less strict requirements on information security; the police care very much about information security, to avoid information contamination when securing an incident area and to prevent public panic. But these agencies have to communicate in a trusted manner with each other, under very different quality of service and quality of protection demands."
In ITI's Boeing Trusted Software Center, Nahrstedt is also working on problems of trust management in wireless networks, where very fast and trusted data access is needed among different moving nodes. In additional work, for ITI's Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIP) Center, Nahrstedt addresses the challenges of designing a digital networking fabric based on commercial off-the-shelf components, such as the Internet, so as to provide power grid transmission systems with a high quality of service and a high quality of protection control.
Professor Geir E. Dullerud of the Department of Mechanical Science & Engineering, the Information Trust Institute, and the Coordinated Science Laboratory was given the IEEE Fellow honor "for contributions to sampled-data systems and robust control." His main research interests are in controls and dynamics, especially networked, distributed, and hybrid control. "One of the big aspects of my program right now is on how dynamical systems interact with each other, and the behavior of networks," he explained. "That includes not just discrete networks but networks of hybrid systems. How do you analyze that kind of big system that has very complicated dynamics and be able to say that it's going to behave properly? If certain failures happen or certain parts of the system change, you'd like to know that the thing will continue to behave in a desired and predictable way, and that nothing catastrophic will happen."
Dullerud is currently developing a suite of tools and methods for analyzing such interactions from different points of view. Applications towards which his work is targeted include robotics, for which he is trying to make multiple robotic devices interact reliably to achieve a global task, and Internet protocols, for which he is trying to give networks more robust dynamics to make adverse large-scale behaviors, caused by, for instance, denial-of-service attacks, more difficult to implement.
The late Professor Jennifer Hou, who passed away in December 2007 following a battle with cancer, was honored "for contributions to protocol design and analysis of wireless communication networks." She was a professor in the Department of Computer Science and co-leader of a project on power control in wireless networks at ITI's Boeing Trusted Software Center. Her research addressed problems in the interaction and coordination of network components and systems.
Assisted living technologies were a particularly important application area for Hou. Sammy Yu, a graduate student who worked on assisted living technologies under her guidance, recalled her commitment to her work. "It was about using technology to improve the quality of life for other people. It was a societal issue beyond just being a technical issue." To support independent living for individuals with medical conditions, Hou's research group worked to develop wireless Bluetooth monitoring devices that measured things like heart rate and blood pressure on a certain schedule, and then posted that information over the Internet to a central server so that doctors and other caregivers could look at the data. As Yu explained, such a system presents security challenges. "How do we secure this system so people can't snoop on the data? You have to make sure that people trust in the system and believe in it, and that means securing the data." Hou's team therefore pursued strategies for verifying the security properties of such systems.
In related research, Hou worked on developing an electronic platform for health information, taking into consideration an array of security and performance issues involved in storage and sharing of complex medical record data. "She was really passionate about it because she had close relatives with medical conditions, and she had to take the medical records between hospitals," said Yu. "It was a source of frustration for her. She really thought about how this issue could be solved with technology."
IEEE's mission is "to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity." IEEE has over 375,000 members in more than 160 countries, representing electrical and computer science, engineering, and related disciplines. It publishes a total of 144 periodicals and sponsors over 850 technical conferences a year; almost one-third of the world's technical literature is published by IEEE.
Writer: Jenny Applequist, Information Trust Institute, 217/244-8920, applequi AT iti.uiuc.edu.
June 16, 2008