Oct 22

Disaster Recovery Design in Cloud Cyberinfrastructures

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

488 CSB (Computer Science Dept.)

Nasir Ghani, Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of South Florida and Research Liaison for Cyber Florida

Cloud-based applications are being hosted across datacenter sites with abundant storage and computing resources. These paradigms are seeing strong traction today and provide many saliencies, such as high cost efficiency and rapid scalability. However as demands continue to increase, many applications are being deployed across multiple datacenters to achieve improved responsiveness. Namely, service providers are using network virtualization techniques to build customized distributed storage/computing overlays for their clients, e.g., such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Furthermore, network function virtualization (NFV) techniques are also being used to replace hardware-based networking devices. However, as these paradigms gain traction, service survivability and continuity are coming to the fore. Of particular concern are large stressor events which can cause multiple correlated datacenter and network outages, e.g., natural disasters, malicious weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attacks, cascading power outages, etc. Clearly, localized intra-site server recovery schemes will not suffice here, and instead more capable globalized strategies are needed. This talk will focus on this challenging problem area and present a range of disaster recovery solutions for virtualized cloud cyberinfrastructures. Foremost, pre-fault protection strategies will be presented to mitigate the impact of potential disaster occurrences. However, since it is very difficult and costly to pre-protect against all randomized faults, further post-fault restoration strategies will also be covered. These solutions include rapid re-mapping schemes as well as more time-staged progressive infrastructure repair/recovery methodologies. The talk will conclude with discussions on future research directions.

Oct 22

Blockchains Untangled: 
Public, Private, Smart Contracts, Applications, Issues

11:40 AM to 12:40 PM

451 Lecture Hall (Computer Science Dept.)

C. Mohan, IBM Almaden Research Center

The concept of a distributed ledger was invented as the underlying technology of the public or permissionless Bitcoin cryptocurrency network. But the adoption and further adaptation of it for use in the private or permissioned environments is what I consider to be of practical consequence and hence only such private blockchain systems will be the focus of this talk.

Computer companies like IBM, Intel, Oracle, Baidu and Microsoft, and many key players in different vertical industry segments have recognized the applicability of blockchains in environments other than cryptocurrencies. IBM did some pioneering work by architecting and implementing Fabric, and then open sourcing it. Now Fabric is being enhanced via the Hyperledger Consortium as part of The Linux Foundation. There is a great deal of momentum behind Hyperledger Fabric throughout the world. Other private blockchain efforts include Enterprise Ethereum, Hyperledger Sawtooth and R3 Corda.

While currently there is no standard in the private blockchain space, all the ongoing efforts involve some combination of persistence, transaction, encryption, virtualization, consensus and other distributed systems technologies. Some of the application areas in which blockchain systems have been leveraged are: global trade digitization, derivatives processing, e-governance, Know Your Customer (KYC), healthcare, food safety, supply chain management and provenance management.

In this talk, I will describe some use-case scenarios, especially those in production deployment. I will also survey the landscape of private blockchain systems with respect to their architectures in general and their approaches to some specific technical areas. I will also discuss some of the opportunities that exist and the challenges that need to be addressed. Since most of the blockchain efforts are still in a nascent state, the time is right for mainstream database and distributed systems researchers and practitioners to get more deeply involved to focus on the numerous open problems. Extensive blockchain related collateral can be found at

Nov 09

Hardware security and high-level synthesis: the good, the bad and the ugly

3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

CSB 488

Christian Pilato, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Security and privacy are becoming one of the major concerns for data elaboration, also considering the increasing globalization of the electronic supply chain. Modern computing systems must include hardware support to guarantee that valuable information is not stolen, protecting not only the user data but also the semiconductor intellectual property. While many solutions exist for these problems, they are usually applied in the last stages of the chip design, often jeopardizing the previous optimizations. Addressing hardware security during high-level synthesis (HLS) is an interesting approach to design and integrate solutions at higher levels of abstraction, co-optimizing them with the rest of the design.
In this talk, I will present recent research on HLS extensions for integrating several security features, like information flow tracking, watermarking and obfuscation. I will also present the other face of the coin: how HLS tools can be effectively compromised to become powerful attack vectors. Finally, I will outline the open challenges for addressing hardware security during high-level design.

Nov 12

Daniel Wigdor

11:40 AM to 12:40 PM

451 Lecture Hall (Computer Science Dept.)

Daniel Wigdor, University of Toronto

Nov 26

Sanjeev Arora

11:40 AM to 12:40 PM

451 Lecture Hall (Computer Science Dept.)

Sanjeev Arora, Princeton/IAS

Dec 03

John Hennessey

11:40 AM to 12:40 PM

451 Lecture Hall (Computer Science Dept.)

John Hennessey, Stanford