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10 cool network and computing research projects

Bob Brown | Jan. 22, 2015
Much of well-funded research is aimed at security, simplifying use of current technology and figuring out how to more easily plow through mounds of big data. Here's at peek at 10 projects.

MORE:13 More Cool Network & Computing Research Projects 

Exploring the Cloud

The National Science Foundation is devoting $10 million for a multi-school effort to build better cloud computing infrastructure that's so important for researchers in fields spanning from physics to medicine to genetics.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Utah and Clemson University will each operate interconnected large-scale data centers for CloudLab, which will enable researchers in networking, storage and security to examine ways to bolster the cloud. Vendors such as Cisco will align with the schools on the project. The University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Raytheon BBN Technologies and US Ignite are also key players in the CloudLab effort. 

University of Wisconsin computer science professor Aditya Akella said in a statement that "Almost all major services we depend on today rely on cloud computing. Our digital and physical lives are increasingly shaped by modern-day clouds."

Another $10 NSF-funded experimental cloud project, dubbed Chameleon, is anchored by the University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin, which will oversee a giant reconfigurable cloud infrastructure boasting 650 nodes and 5 terabytes of storage. This bare-metal cloud infrastructure is designed to enable researchers to work with new virtualization technologies.

Coder Helper

Rice University researchers lead a four-year project backed by $11 million from DARPA to create a tool called PLINY designed to autocomplete and autocorrect code for programmers.

"Imagine the power of having all the code that has ever been written in the past available to programmers at their fingertips as they write new code or fix old code,"

said Vivek Sarkar, Rice's E.D. Butcher Chair in Engineering, chair of the Department of Computer Science and principal investigator on the PLINY project, in a statement. "You can think of this as autocomplete for code, but in a far more sophisticated way."

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the company GrammaTech are also working on PLINY, which will be centered around a data mining engine designed to plow through oodles of open source computer code.

Targeting Second-Order Vulnerabilities

A pair of researchers from Ruhr-Universitat Bochum in Germany last year were awarded the first $50K Internet Defense Prize for their work in combatting "second-order vulnerabilities" in Web apps threats that lurk on Web servers until the time is right to strike.

The researchers, Johannes Dahse and Thorsen Holz, have published a paper titled "Static Detection of Second-Order Vulnerabilites in Web Applications" in greater detail. In it, they describe use of automatic static code analysis to detect vulnerabilities before they inflict their pain on victims. (Second-order vulnerabilities are distinct from first-order threats like SQL injections and cross-site scripting.)


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