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List of projects


Checking properties of flexible programs in the presence of modularity

Contact: Prof. Thomas Gross             Relevant publications

Last updated on: July 07

This work's purpose is to further the understanding of the construction of stable and flexible software systems, in a practical setting.

Applications

New software tools allow a developer to analyze a software system. When a module is changed/updated, the tool considers its effects on the overall program and communicates the results to the developer. If the changes conflict with previous assumptions or post-conditions, then the developer must reconcile these conflicts.

The project assets

The projects assets (staff and students) leave the office every day. The management's job is to convince them to continue to work outside the office and to return the next day. No proprietary software will be developed, the plan is to make the system available without charges to interested and qualified parties.

What has been achieved so far?

Prototypes of software tools already exist, but they can only analyze a system as a whole, not in parts, and they have scaling problems.

Where does the project stand now?

The project is awaiting funding approval to start hiring graduate students.


VerSePro: verification of security and privacy protocols for wireless networks

Contact: Prof. David Basin , Jean-Pierre Hubaux             Relevant publications

Last updated on: Sept. 05

The objectives of this project are to provide MICS with a set of correctly proved security protocols along with methods and tool support for such verification.

Applications

Mobile communications protocols of tomorrow are more secure.

The project's assets

A certain number of protocols will be developed, aiming at protecting location privacy of the "sensor internet", securing positioning in all-wireless networks and highly mobile ad hoc networks, as well as fostering cooperation between nodes.

New methods will be developed for the modelling and automated analysis of a wide spectrum of security protocols.

What has been achieved so far?

The research community has already addressed certain aspects of security protocols in ad hoc and sensor networks. But all current approaches to the automated analysis of security protocols employ an idealized model of cryptography and the problems remain undecidable. Most approaches therefore employ restrictions techniques which are often effective for limited classes of protocols and secrecy properties.

Where does the project stand now?

The project has started in Fall 2005.


Secure stream ciphers

Contact: Prof. Willi Meier             Relevant publications

Last updated on: July 07

Stream ciphers and block ciphers are symmetric encryption algorithms used for securing digital data transmission, e.g. between cell phones or in digital money transfer. However, in the past many stream ciphers have been broken. It is therefore important to have new ones that are efficient and assure an appropriate security level. This project aims to develop a new stream cipher for constrained environments such as mobile networks.
Applications

If approved by the cryptographic community, the new stream cipher will be implemented in industrial products where only limited computing power is available, like in RFID's and in sensor networks.

The project's assets

The development of a new cipher stream is already part of the framework of a project called ECRYPT NoE, set up in collaboration between many European universities and industry. A call for proposals initiated by this project resulted in the submission of more than 20 new streams. The subset's suitability and security of promising candidates will be investigated.

What has been achieved so far?

Analysis of stream ciphers has been performed and the various techniques used have been listed. Some of these will be relevant for the present project. An own proposal of a stream cipher that uses a novel design strategy has been elaborated and submitted to ECRYPT NoE.

Where does the project stand now?

Many proposed stream ciphers, including the own one, apply design strategies that differ from established design rules. An extensive discussion has begun amongst experts about the proposals. In order to contribute, new analysis methods are under development that allow to asset the security of various candidate stream ciphers, and to elaborate new design criteria.


Spam detection using an artificial immune system for mail (IsMail)

Contact: Prof. Jean-Yves Le Boudec             Relevant publications

Last updated on: Sept. 05

The IsMail is a collection of spam detection devices that automatically evolve and self-organize in order to detect and defeat new spammers' tricks.

Applications

E-mails are freed from spam as detection systems come to make the job of an attacker difficult. The detection mechanisms are not easily predicted and are quick to respond to entirely innovative attacks.

The project's assets

IsMail has potential to: (a) quickly detect both new and old strains of spam; (b) automatically evolve (without software reload) to counteract spammer's new tricks; (c) works well, i.e. detects most of the spam and almost never blocks normal mails, even under assumption that the design (source code) of the system is know to the spammers.

Detectors are used locally to check incoming mails. They are produced using artificial immune system algorithms.

Figure 1 : Text strings are sampled randomly from a new mail, processed into binary strings, and exposed to the previously and newly built detectors. If there is matching, the mail is quarantined as spam, otherwise it goes into the inbox.

 

Figure 2: New candidate detectors are produced to match well randomly sampled strings from a new coming e-mail, disregarding whether it is spam or not. Negative selection is used to delete those candidates that match strings from the e-mails that a user has read before and didn't delete or mark as spam. The detectors that survive the negative selection have to maturate before they are empowered to block e-mails and put into the pool of active detectors. In maturation process the detectors have to prove that they are good at detecting patterns from e-mails that has strong indication to be spam. This indication comes from: (a) user's past mails deleted as spam, and (b) collaborative “ongoing spam bulk” evidence finding, through a specially designed distributed algorithm.

What has been achieved so far?

An event based simulator has been developed for the mailing system network.

Immune system for spam detection (IsMail) has been designed, and some of its components (algorithms) have been added to the simulator.

Where does the project stand now?

Currently, the scientists are working on implementation of the IsMail within the developed simulator.


PermaSense

Contact: Prof. Christian Tschudin , Vonder Muhll , Stephan Gruber             Relevant publications

Last updated on: Sept. 05

The main objective of the PermaSense project is to build and customize a set of wireless measurement units for use in remote areas with harsh environmental monitoring conditions. The second goal is the gathering of environmental data that helps to understand the processes that connect climate change and rock fall in permafrost areas. To this end, two sensor fields will be deployed in the Swiss alps and be operated over several years.

Applications

Wireless sensors contribute to permafrost science. They will enable to easily monitor larger permafrost areas with denser sampling, leading to better predictions on the consequences of global warming for alpine regions.

The project's assets

Beyond helping the modelling of permafrost processes, this research is also applicable to natural hazard surveillance. Currently, there is lack of easy to deploy geo-monitoring systems that are low-cost, cheap in maintenance, and easily reconfigurable when deployed. With better wireless sensor solutions, larger hazard areas can be permanently monitored and linked to warning system that help to protect human lives.

What has been achieved so far?

The consequences of global warming due to permafrost degradation cannot be predicted yet in an appropriate manner. Furthermore, there is an urgent need for continuous environmental monitoring at various time scales. Finally, there is still a lack of cheap and easy to deploy stand-alone monitoring and warning systems.

Where does the project stand now?

The project begins in the fall of 2005. The first generation of sensors shall be ready early summer 2006 where climatic conditions permit to deploy them. After that, access is more or less impossible for the span of a year, during which continuous measurements will be done.


WaterSense

Contact: Prof. Jean-Pierre Hubaux             Relevant publications

Last updated on: Sept. 05

The goal of the WaterSense project is to apply the theoretical results obtained by MICS to a concrete problem that addresses global environmental and social concerns (water management in agriculture). This will be accomplished in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and an Indian rural NGO. This ccoperation has resulted into the COMMON-Sense Net project.

Applications

Integrated water management systems for the agriculture of developing countries (targeted at small land holders).

The project's assets

WaterSense is applying the theoretical results previously obtained to Common-Sense Net, an environmental-monitoring application. It is benefiting from a multidisciplinary partnership with Indian agriculture scientists and a local NGO

What has been achieved so far?

A testbed was deployed in the village of CKPura through 2006. The collected data were used to improve the platform and to get feedback from scientists as for the data requirements

Where does the project stand now?

The second generation of watersense was deployed in the field in Switzerland and India through July 2007

 
   

 
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