New TRUST Consortium Tackling Computer Security, Reliability
The U.S. National Science Foundation expects to provide almost $19 million in funding over five years to the TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology) consortium. The aim of TRUST’s research is to create new technologies – and perhaps even new social institutions – that will make it possible to build computer software and networks that are inherently secure. “Security” here means not only protection against outside attacks, but also reliability of service and preservation of data.
Academic institutions involved are Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Mills College, San Jose State University, Smith College, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University. Industrial and other partners are Bellsouth, Cisco Systems, ESCHER (a research consortium that includes Boeing, General Motors and Raytheon), Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Qualcomm, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.
The funding comes from NSF’s Science and Technology Centers: Integrative Partnerships program, which creates collaborations among academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations and others for research and education projects of national importance. Although funding for new centers under the program was scheduled to be cut, Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-24th District NY), chairman of the House Science Committee, worked to have it reinstated.
In addition to protecting computers against attacks, TRUST will consider ways to ensure that stored data remains intact and computer networks operate smoothly. Privacy, legal, societal and usability issues will be built into the technology as it is developed rather than added on as an afterthought, the researchers said in their proposal. The team’s long-term approach includes creating programming languages and other tools with which secure systems can be built in the future and educating today’s students in the use of those tools. The team will also create courses in security and in building trustworthy systems, which will first be taught at the affiliated institutions and later made available to schools outside the team.
DID has also covered the I3P initiative recently, a research program for securing computer-based systems that control critical infrastructure such as dams, pipelines, water treatment plants, et. al.