Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute Appoints International Experts to Board of Advisors at Secure Systems Research Centre

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Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, Chief Researcher at Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC)

Abu Dhabi-UAE:Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced the appointment of international experts in the field of systems security to the Board of Advisors of its Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC).

The appointments follow a series of rapid announcements at Technology Innovation Institute since the first Advanced Technology Research Council board meeting in August 2020. 

Secure Systems Research Centre is one of the initial seven dedicated centres at Technology Innovation Institute and is among the few global centres of its kind to bring together experts to conduct groundbreaking research in the field of secure systems. The distinguished new Board of Advisors have combined expertise in security and resilience relating to autonomous computing, and will guide the efforts of the Centre’s research team in developing end-to-end solutions to protect cyber-physical and autonomous systems.

The Board of Advisors comprises:

Prof. Ernesto Damiani, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Senior Director, Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Systems Institute, Director of the Center for Cyber Physical Systems (C2PS), Khalifa University in the UAE, whose research interests include secure service-oriented architectures, privacy-preserving big data analytics and cyber-physical systems security. He is also SESAR Research Lab Lead, Department of Computer Science, University of Milan in Italy.

Dr Hoda Alkhzaimi, Research Assistant Professor at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Director of the University’s Center of Cyber Security, who was associated with research and development posts in cybersecurity and cryptology. Her research interests include unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) security, cryptology, cryptanalysis, and building security hardware and software components.

Dr Bushra Alblooshi, Head of Research and Innovation at Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC), and who is focused on researching cloud computing, cybersecurity, computer forensics and cryptography.

Prof. Inseok Hwang, Professor at the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, who specialises in research on intelligent and high assurance autonomy for cyber-physical systems with applications to complex networked systems, such as multi-vehicle systems. He is also Head of Flight Dynamics and Control/ Hybrid Systems Laboratory at the university.

Prof. Dongyan Xu, Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University, specialises in research focused on cyber and cyber-physical security. He is also the Director of The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University.

Prof. Taesoo Kim is Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his research interests span systems security architecture and design, threat intelligence, internet infrastructure and operating systems, machine learning, and programming languages.

Prof. Wenke Lee is Professor of Computer Science and John P. Imlay Jr. Chair, College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is one of the most prolific and influential cybersecurity researchers in the world. His research specialty is systems and network security, applied cryptography and machine learning. Prof. Lee is also Executive Director of the Institute for Information Security & Privacy at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta.

Dr Harry Edelman is CEO of architectural consultancy Edelman Group and co-founder of AIDOMUS, a machine learning and IoT-based startup initiative for smart urban services. His work has focused on various aspects of integrated urban developments, including smart urban energy design and mobility. He is also Head of Research Groups, Virtual Building Technologies and Sustainable Development and Design at Tampere University, Finland.

Speaking on the new appointments, Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, Chief Researcher at Secure Systems Research Centre, said: “The Centre combines fundamental and applied research to set new standards and act as a catalyst to transform problems into solutions. The goal of the research team is to create new technologies for the development of end-to-end security and resilience in cyber -physical and autonomous systems.”

Research in security and resilience in cyber-physical and autonomous systems will ultimately lead to groundbreaking efforts in ensuring the safety and economic prosperity of our communities. The Board of Advisors will guide the expert researchers at Secure Systems Research Centre in carrying out such cutting-edge research while also creating new opportunities to train aspiring young UAE nationals in these significant fields.

Technology Innovation Institute is a pioneering global research and development centre that focuses on applied research and new-age technology capabilities. The Institute has seven initial dedicated research centres in quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems. By working with exceptional talent, universities, research institutions and industry partners from all over the world, the Institute connects an intellectual community and contributes to building an R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The Institute reinforces Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s status as a global hub for innovation and contributes to the broader development of its knowledge-based economy.

Profiles of Board of Advisors:

Prof. Ernesto Damiani is Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Senior Director, Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Systems Institute, and Director of the Center for Cyber-Physical Systems (C2PS), at Khalifa University in the UAE. His research interests include secure service-oriented architectures, privacy-preserving big data analytics and cyber-physical systems security. Prof. Damiani holds visiting positions at leading international institutions, including George Mason University in the United States, Tokyo Denki University in Japan, La Trobe University in Australia, and the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in France. He is a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Progress of Science. Prof. Damiani is Editor in Chief of the International Journal on Big Data and the International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, and Associate Editor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Transactions on Service Computing and IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems. He also serves on the editorial boards of several other international journals. Prof. Damiani is a recipient of the Chester Sall Award from the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society.

Dr Hoda Alkhzaimi is Research Assistant Professor at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in the UAE and Director of the University’s Center of Cyber Security. She has held different research and development posts in cybersecurity and cryptology. She has also led research and development in cybersecurity and cryptology in the UAE at the national level. Dr Alkhzaimi’s research interests include space, aerospace and UAV security, cryptology, cryptanalysis, construction and validation of security hardware and software components, and building trusted security architectures for diverse environments spanning products across key industries. Dr Alkhzaimi is President of the Emirates Digital Association for Women and has featured on Arabian Business’s 100 Smartest People in the UAE list.

Dr Bushra Alblooshi is Head of Research and Innovation at Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) in the UAE, and a member of Byte, a research laboratory run jointly by DESC and the University of Sharjah (UOS) that focuses on the Internet of Things, AI and blockchain. Her research specialises in cloud computing, cybersecurity, computer forensics and cryptography. Prior to joining DESC, Dr Alblooshi was Research Assistant at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Khalifa University. Previously, she worked as IT Team Manager at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and as System Analyst at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Dr Alblooshi has participated in several international conferences and workshops. She regularly engages in outreach activities and delivers public tech talks. She has co-authored one patent and multiple research papers published in international scientific journals.

Prof. Inseok Hwang is Professor at the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Head of the Flight Dynamics and Control Laboratory and the Hybrid Systems Laboratory at Purdue University in the United States. His research specialises in difficult and interesting practical problems, such as controlling multi-vehicle systems.  Previously, he served as Instructor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Korea Air Force Academy. Dr Hwang is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Control Systems Society and Aerospace & Electronic Systems Society. He is an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems and Asian Journal of Control, an editorial board member of the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences (IJASS), and a conference editorial board member of IEEE Control Systems Society. Dr Hwang received a Special Service Citation from AIAA.

Prof. Dongyan Xu is Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University. He is also a member of the Purdue System Security Lab (PurSec) and the Lab FRIENDS (Lab For Research In Emerging Network & Distributed Systems) research group at Purdue University. His research specialises in cyber and cyber-physical security. Prof. Xu has been a member of the editorial board of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems (TAAS). He has served on the programme committees of major security and cloud computing conferences. These included the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Symposium on Security and Privacy (S&P), USENIX Security Symposium and the IEEE International System-on-Chip Conference (SOCC). He has co-authored two patents and over 200 research papers published in international scientific journals.

Prof. Taesoo Kim is Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science at the College of Computing of the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States. He continues to consult as Advising Professor at the Samsung Electronics Seoul R&D Campus in South Korea. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University and as Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) in South Korea. Prof. Kim’s research interests include systems security architecture and design, threat intelligence, internet infrastructure and operating systems, machine learning, and programming languages. He is widely published, and has received multiple awards and citations, including the Google Research Award, Distinguished Paper Award at USENIX Security’18, Mozilla Research Award and Lockheed Martin Inspirational Young Faculty.

Prof. Wenke Lee is Professor of Computer Science and John P. Imlay Jr. Chair of Software at the School of Computer Science of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds the post of Executive Director of the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) at Georgia Tech. Prof. Lee is one of the most prolific and influential cybersecurity researchers in the world. He specialises in systems and network security, applied cryptography and machine learning. Prof. Lee co-founded Damballa, a cybersecurity company that focuses on detection and mitigation of advanced persistent threats, and was later acquired by Core Security Technologies. Prof. Lee is a Fellow of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM). He received the Internet Defense Prize from Facebook and USENIX, and the Outstanding Community Service Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Technical Committee on Security and Privacy (TCSP). Prof. Lee serves on the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Engineering of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Board of Trustees of Pace Academy in Atlanta. He has co-authored four patents and over 270 research papers published in international scientific journals.

Dr Harry Edelman is CEO of Edelman Group, an architectural consultancy that specialises in integrated urban solutions. In addition, he co-founded AIDOMUS, a company that develops machine learning and IoT-based services in the built environment for better living, energy savings and mitigation of climate change. Dr Edelman is passionate about strategic design, innovation, multidisciplinary research and sustainable built environment design. His practice and academic work have focused on various aspects of integrated urban developments, such as nature-based solutions, sustainable and integrated housing, and smart urban energy design. He also studies the use of artificial intelligence for city development and self-learning buildings. Previously, Dr Edelman was Professor of Sustainable Design and Development, and Head of Research Groups, Virtual Building Technologies and Sustainable Development and Design at Tampere University of Technology in Finland. Dr Edelman started his career as Research Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

About Technology Innovation Institute (TII):

Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the dedicated ‘applied research’ pillar of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), is a pioneering global research and development centre that focuses on applied research and new-age technology capabilities. The Institute has seven initial dedicated research centres in quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems. By working with exceptional talent, universities, research institutions and industry partners from all over the world, the Institute connects an intellectual community and contributes to building an R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The Institute reinforces Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s status as a global hub for innovation and contributes to the broader development of the knowledge-based economy.

About Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC):

Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC) – at Technology Innovation Institute (TII) – is a global centre of excellence developing end-to-end security and resilience innovations to protect cyber-physical and autonomous systems. These developments aim to reduce security vulnerabilities and threats in a global community dependent on billions of physical and digital points of contact.