Fargo, ND, January 8, 2018 – Top students from across the United States will be descending on Fargo for the next three summers to advance the cybersecurity of robots, drones and other cyber-physical systems.
The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded the North Dakota State University Department of Computer Science $360,000 to fund a Research Experience for Undergraduates site at NDSU. NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research Assoc. Director and Computer Science Asst. Professor Jeremy Straub is the principal investigator on the NSF grant and the site director for the REU.
Participating students, who must be American undergraduates enrolled at NDSU or another college or university, will pursue research related to the development of secure code, detecting hacking attempts and securing real-world software-hardware systems. They will conduct this research under the supervision of NDSU Computer Science faculty including Straub, Guy Hokanson, Pratap Kotala, Simone Ludwig and Kendall Nygard.
“Cyber-physical systems are one of the most important areas of cybersecurity research, because they interact directly with humans and could injure or even kill someone, if under nefarious control,” commented Straub. “By bringing some of the smartest students – from all over the country – together, we hope to advance security in this key area, as well as increasing the students’ interest in pursuing research careers.”
The students will learn how to secure – and advance the security of – robots, drones, satellites, utility control systems, home automation units, premises security systems and other cyber-physical systems. They will be grouped into cohorts of approximately 10 per year. They will be selected based upon their academic background and potential to develop into strong researchers. Approximately half will be selected from institutions which only provide the students with limited research on their home campus.
“Through their participation in the research experience program, the undergraduate students will get the opportunity to work on real cutting-edge challenges,” said Straub. “They will learn about computing research techniques and the day-to-day life of researchers.”
The research experience prepares students for careers in research in academia, government laboratories or industry. Students also learn skills that will serve them in non-research software development and analyst roles. Participating students can earn academic credit, if desired, for their research experience, through NDSU or, with approval, their home institution.
The NDSU Computer Science Department was founded in 1988 (though computer science courses were offered as part of Mathematical Sciences since 1973). It offers Ph.D. degrees in computer science and software engineering, three master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degree programs. It occupies 7,460 square feet in NDSU’s Quentin Burdick Building and has approximately 600 graduate and undergraduate student majors.