Uni­ver­sity rec­og­nized by DHS for second time this year

The National Secu­rity Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity (DHS) have announced that North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has been selected as a National Center of Aca­d­emic Excel­lence in Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Research (CAE-​​R). The recog­ni­tion com­ple­ments Northeastern’s existing des­ig­na­tion as a Center of Excel­lence in Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Edu­ca­tion and aims to tap the University’s advanced aca­d­emic research and devel­op­ment capa­bil­i­ties to help secure the global infor­ma­tion grid and train pro­fes­sionals with infor­ma­tion assur­ance exper­tise from var­ious dis­ci­plines. Ear­lier this year, North­eastern won a Cen­ters of Excel­lence grant from DHS to form a new center called ALERT (Aware­ness and Local­iza­tion of Explosives-​​Related Threats).

Launched in 2007, the CAE-​​R pro­gram pro­motes the role of higher edu­ca­tion in responding to the para­mount need for robust infor­ma­tion assur­ance tech­nology, policy and prac­tices that will enable our Nation to effec­tively pre­vent and respond to cat­a­strophic events. Northeastern’s recog­ni­tion as a CAE-​​R acknowl­edges the University’s proven excel­lence in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and trans­la­tional research and will help estab­lish a process to drill deeper into much needed solu­tions to secure the global infor­ma­tion grid. During the next five years, North­eastern will serve as a regional center of infor­ma­tion assur­ance exper­tise and for NSA, DHS and other fed­eral agen­cies and pro­vide pro­grams aimed at training and retaining cur­rent fed­eral and state infor­ma­tion tech­nology personnel.

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun praised Agnes H. Chan, Asso­ciate Dean for Grad­uate Studies in the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence, and the team of researchers who won the recognition.

This dis­tinc­tion rec­og­nizes Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to world-​​class infor­ma­tion assur­ance research,” said Aoun. “With our second such des­ig­na­tion by DHS this year, North­eastern is firmly estab­lished as a leader in trans­la­tional research that serves national, soci­etal and global needs.”

At North­eastern, Chan focuses on cryp­tog­raphy and com­mu­ni­ca­tion secu­rity. In par­tic­ular, she researches effi­cient algo­rithms for gen­er­ating sym­metric keys and ana­lyzes their secu­rity. With pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tions car­ried out via public chan­nels, secu­rity and integrity are increas­ingly impor­tant issues in designing coding schemes. Chan’s research con­siders coding schemes that are easy to imple­ment, make it dif­fi­cult for others to eaves­drop, and are resilient to noise interference.

Being rec­og­nized amongst the very first CAE-​​R cer­ti­fies that our pro­gram is highly regarded in both edu­ca­tion and research,” said Chan. “As a des­ig­nated center, North­eastern will con­tinue to attract world-​​class stu­dents and researchers.”

The NSA and DHS jointly sponsor the National Cen­ters of Aca­d­emic Excel­lence Pro­grams. Launched in April 2004, the part­ner­ship responds to Pri­ority III of the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyber­space of 2003 that directs the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to foster training and edu­ca­tion pro­grams to sup­port the Nation’s cyber­se­cu­rity needs, and to increase the effi­ciency of existing Fed­eral cyber­se­cu­rity pro­grams. The President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyber­space refers to cyber­space as the ner­vous system of our Nation’s crit­ical infra­struc­tures, and indi­cates that the healthy func­tioning of cyber­space presents a dif­fi­cult strategic chal­lenge, and infor­ma­tion assur­ance edu­ca­tion is a crit­ical com­po­nent in suc­cess­fully meeting that challenge.

Larry Finkel­stein, dean of the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence, sees this honor along with the existing des­ig­na­tion as a Center of Excel­lence in Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Edu­ca­tion as val­i­da­tion of a broad inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to our efforts infor­ma­tion assurance.

This des­ig­na­tion rec­og­nizes the research con­tri­bu­tions of uni­ver­sity fac­ulty in helping to secure the global infor­ma­tion grid and acknowl­edges our strong com­mit­ment to infor­ma­tion assur­ance as an area of strategic focus,” said Finkel­stein. “I applaud the efforts of Pro­fessor Agnes Chan for her vision in leading our efforts in infor­ma­tion assur­ance and for rec­og­nizing at the very outset that it was nec­es­sary to empha­size an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to our research and edu­ca­tional pro­grams. She co-​​founded the Insti­tute for Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance with Pro­fessor David Kaeli of the Depart­ment of Elec­trical and Com­puter Engi­neering and ini­ti­ated the devel­op­ment of a joint master’s degree in Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance with Asso­ciate Dean Jack McDe­vitt of the Col­lege of Crim­inal Justice.”

The pres­ti­gious acknowl­edg­ment des­ig­nated a total of 23 infor­ma­tion assur­ance cen­ters across 17 states and the Dis­trict of Columbia. An awards cer­e­mony will be held on June 4, at the annual con­fer­ence of the Col­lo­quium for Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Secu­rity Edu­ca­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Dallas.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Samantha Fodrowski at 617–373-5427 or at s.​fodrowski@​neu.​edu.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.