Bren School faculty, students and research initiatives are some of the most well regarded successes on the UC Irvine campus. We are pleased to announce the following noteworthy achievements.
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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recognized assistant project scientist in computer science Per Larsen as a “DARPA Riser.” The early-career honor is conferred to “up-and-coming standouts in their fields, capable of discovering and leveraging innovative opportunities for technological surprise—the heart of DARPA’s national security mission,” DARPA says.
Larsen, along with 54 other honorees from around the country, attended “Wait, What? A Future Technology Forum,” in September with special guest U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (the gentleman on the left in the photo). The forum, which drew more than 1,200 participants from around the world, explored future technologies “on their potential to radically change how we live and work, and on the opportunities and challenges these technologies will raise within the broadly defined domain of national security,” according to the event website. Larsen was among a small subset of honorees who were treated to lunch with the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
“DARPA organized Wait, What? to bring together forward-looking thinkers across a host of fields that are abundant with possibilities,” DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said in the event press release. “In particular, our DARPA Rising effort aimed to identify and inspire some of the nation’s emerging leaders in research and technology—so we at DARPA can learn from them, and to make them aware of opportunities to apply their expertise in the important domain of national security.”
Larsen works as a postdoctoral scholar with Computer Science Professor Michael Franz. His research interests include information security, including software diversity and exploits and mitigations; compilers, including profiling, randomization and control-flow integrity; and systems software, including interpreters and virtual machines.
Department of Informatics Chair André van der Hoek will be speaking at the Southern California Society for Information Management (SCSIM) Fall Event: “The Southern California Disruptors—How Startups and the New Innovation Culture in Southern California are affecting IT” on Sept. 30 at the Long Beach Marriott. As the head of the UCI Software Design and Collaboration Lab, van der Hoek is part of a three-person panel that will relate their applicable experiences crucial to participating in the new business environment developing around us.
This year alone, Computer Science Professor Michael Franz has accumulated over $3.9 million in research funding from prestigious organizations such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), Qualcomm, Oracle and Mozilla. This follows his trend of more than $1 million per year on average in research expenditures.
Franz currently runs two projects funded by DARPA’s Cyber Fault-Tolerant Attack Recovery (CFAR) Program, for which he received nearly $2 million and roughly $700,000 in May, respectively. The CFAR Program aims to “produce revolutionary breakthroughs in defensive cyber techniques that can be deployed to protect existing and planned software systems in both military and civilian contexts without requiring changes to the concept of operations of these systems,” according to a statement by program manager John Everett.
Franz also runs a project funded by DARPA’s Vetting Commodity IT Software and Firmware Program (VET), which addresses “the threat of hidden malicious functionality in COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) IT devices ... including mobile phones, printers, computer workstations and many other everyday items,” according to a statement by program manager Timothy Fraser. He received nearly $65,000 for this project.
Finally, in July, Franz received nearly $620,000 from the NSF for a collaborative project titled “ENCORE—ENhanced program protection through COmpiler-REwriter cooperation.” According to the abstract, the project will produce “a prototype implementation consisting of a producer-side metadata derivation engine, and a consumer-side binary rewriting engine using this metadata to safely perform binary code manipulation.” In the past year, Franz has also received unrestricted gifts from Qualcomm, Oracle and Mozilla totaling $263,000.