One of my current focuses of research is cybersecurity education. We are focusing on how gamification can be used to increase understanding of cyber security concepts. Specifically, how can we use capture-the-flag exercises to expose middle school, high school, and undergraduate students to basic concept of computer science, networking, and computer security.

Additionally, I am involved in a study of using virtualization platforms combined with physical lab environments to learn network engineering and design. We conducted a semester long study of students taking a intermediate-level networking course in an undergraduate institution. We are studying learning proficiency, timing, and general excitement and interest through these environments.

Lastly, I am leading two senior capstone projects to build cyber ranges and cyber weapons platforms for use in education and cyber security competitions.

My disseration research interests lie in the area of Cyber Maneuver, specifically maneuverable applications. The Department of Defense defines maneuver as

A movement to place ships, aircraft, or land forces in a position of advantage over the enemy.

I researched how to design, model, and build maneuverable applications. A maneuverable application is distributed and parallel applications that takes advantage of the addition and removal of resources within the application, giving the perception of movement. These resources can be computation, network, storage, or applications themselves.

The preceived movement of the maneuverable application is deliberate and skillful with the desire to gain system advantages. Some of those advantages that I am researching are as follows:

  • Provisioning Resources
  • Optimizing Applications
  • Improving Cyber Security

In the area of resource provision, my work with JUMMP has shown how a maneuverable application can be used to provided MapReduce programming within a shared resource.

In the area of application optimization, my work with an SDN testbed has shown how maneuvering datacenter computing racks to different positions in the topology can improve shuffle traffic transfer times in MapReduce

Finally, in the area of cybersecurity, I am working toward building a PetriNet model of a system that continously maneuvers between computation, idle, and deception states to add moving target defense and deceptive defense.