ECE Professor Houman Homayoun Receives $1.2M from NSF to Develop Secure Cloud Systems

Professor Houman Homayoun’s Accelerated, Secure, and Energy-Efficient Computing (ASEEC) Lab in the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and collaborators at George Mason University received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build secure resource provisioning systems in the cloud.

Diagram of Houman Homayoun’s project for developing secure cloud systems

Cloud computing paradigms have emerged as a major facility to store and process massive data produced by various business units, public organizations, Internet-of-Things and cyber-physical systems. The advantages of cloud computing include virtualized environments, parallel processing and scalable data storage. In cloud architecture, to satisfy users’ performance requirements and generate revenues. However, the methods taken by cloud managers open the door for security attacks, including the emerging micro-architectural attacks.

In this project, which is a collaboration with Professor Khaled Khasawneh’s lab at George Mason University, researchers aim to explore the vulnerability existing in cloud schedulers and develop more secure cloud systems. They have several objectives, including: (1) threat analysis of cloud schedulers, which involves breaking the cloud scheduler; (2) in-depth defense against micro-architectural attacks; (3) enhancing cloud schedulers by introducing fine-grained resource scheduling. This novel thread of cloud security research will be beneficial to the cloud research community as well as public cloud industry.

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