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National Security Agency Announces the Creation of New "Lablets" in Support of the Science of Security

Release No: PA-265-18 April 22, 2014 PRINT | E-MAIL
FORT MEADE, Md. —

For the past three years, the National Security Agency (NSA) and US Government have been partnering with academia to create a research community dedicated to the Science of Security (SoS). More recently, NSA made a strong commitment to this venture by giving almost three hundred departments at universities the opportunity to receive funding to develop "Lablets" in partnership with private industry and NSA.

Photograph of Lablets Investigators; (Left to Right): Mr. Gil Nolte, Chief, Trusted Systems Research; Dr. Jonathan Katz, Principal Investigator, University of Maryland; Dr. Laurie Williams, Principal Investigator, North Carolina State University; Dr. David Nichol, Principal Investigator, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Dr. William Scherlis, Principal Investigator, Carnegie Mellon University(Left to Right) Mr. Gil Nolte, Chief, Trusted Systems Research
Dr. Jonathan Katz, Principal Investigator, University of Maryland
Dr. Laurie Williams, Principal Investigator, North Carolina State University
Dr. David Nichol, Principal Investigator, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Dr. William Scherlis, Principal Investigator, Carnegie Mellon University

Within this program, each "Lablet" (term used for a small lab) will be conducting basic foundational research, building a growing community, and championing the need for SoS. Working together within each "Lablet" and with the greater community, they will be establishing scientific principles upon which to base trust in security. The overarching goal for developing this platform is to bring scientific rigor to research in the cybersecurity domain.

Today, NSA is pleased to share the universities that were awarded contracts to develop their "Lablets":

  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Maryland
  • Carnegie Mellon University

Each of the Principal Investigators at these universities visited NSA in February 2014 for the initial kickoff meeting and met with leaders from NSA's Research Directorate as a way to highlight this milestone and exciting initiative (see photo below).

This joint venture will focus on the discovery of formal underpinnings for the design of trusted systems which include contributions from the disciplines of computer science, mathematics, behavioral science, economics, and physics.

The research done at these "Lablets" will focus on the following five hard problem areas:

  • Scalability and Composability
  • Policy-Governed Secure Collaboration
  • Security-Metrics
  • Resilient Architectures
  • Understanding and Accounting for Human Behavior

NSA congratulates the universities that were selected, as well as the Research community as a whole, for supporting and contributing to the advancement of SoS. Focusing on this is, and will continue to be, a top priority for NSA and the safety of this Nation.