October 2, 2020

UC Riverside receives $7.5 million to improve large-scale networked systems

New Department of Defense Center of Excellence will help develop secure, fully networked command, control, and communications infrastructures

Author: Holly Ober
October 2, 2020

The University of California, Riverside, has received $7.5 million to create a Department of Defense Center of Excellence that will help develop secure, fully networked command, control, and communications infrastructure that would enable integrated and optimal decision-making. 

The center will be co-directed by Amit Roy-Chowdhury, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering and Srikanth Krishnamurthy,  a computer science professor at UC Riverside. UC San Diego and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory are partners on the project.

The center’s goal is to integrate computing, communications, and control across missions that run independently but have a common objective requiring accurate and timely situational awareness. 

An integrated system that offers each entity real-time situational awareness and communication will help personnel respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of the mission. For example, it would help coordinate national defense against attacks across air, land, sea, and cyberspace.

UCR’s new center will study the fundamental research issues involved in creating robust, resilient command, control, and communication systems. The major research themes include machine learning, communications and networking, and cybersecurity. In a scenario where data across a networked system needs to be integrated to make decisions regarding a mission, appropriate machine-learning models hardened against adversarial attacks must be deployed to determine resource requirements for systems and subsystems. The models guide decisions on future resource requirements and allocations for various missions. 

There are only a few centers of excellence across the country. The grant is one of the largest federal grants UCR has received. Grants like this allow multiple researchers to work together and achieve goals that a smaller group cannot.

Lead researchers include Bourns College professors Manu Sridharan, Nael Abu-Ghazaleh, Yingbo Hua, and Zhiyun Qian. Other Bourns College professors involved with the center include Fabio Pasqualetti, K. K. Ramakrishnan, and Basak Guler. UCSD researchers are Xinyu Zhang and Farinaz Koushanfar.

The center will also have a major educational component providing a pathway for undergraduate students at UCR to be involved in research. This will involve senior design projects, research lab experience, and mentorship in pursuing graduate studies. Mechanisms will be developed to specifically reach out to underrepresented student groups, who represent about 38% of students in the Bourns College of Engineering.

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