Tag Archives: cyber security

Tennessee State University joins Consortium to Improve the Nation’s Cyber Security in Energy Delivery Systems

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will participate in a five-year, $28.1 million U.S. Department of Energy initiative to improve computer/communication networks for energy delivery systems like power grids and pipelines, the agency announced recently.

TSU researchers will join a consortium of 11 universities and national laboratories led by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign to improve the resilience and security of the cyber networks. These networks serve as the backbone of the infrastructure that delivers energy to the nation – known as energy delivery systems – for the electric power, oil and gas industries.

Dr. Sachin Shetty
Dr. Sachin Shetty

The university will receive $930,000 to conduct studies in security risk assessment, software-defined networking, robust control systems, and detection and classification of the impact of attacks on cyber-physical systems. TSU researchers will also design controller procedures to protect against specific attack categories.

Dr. Sachin Shetty, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a cyber security and networking systems expert, will lead the effort as project director. He will be assisted by Dr. L.H. Keel, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as co-PI.

Dr. L.H. Keel

“The security of critical infrastructure, such as power grids, oil and gas refineries, nuclear power reactors and pipeline operations has attracted tremendous attention,” Shetty said. “There is growing awareness in the industry to safeguard cyber and physical resiliency and move beyond cyber security to ensure the nation’s energy delivery systems can operate in the presence of attacks caused by adversarial actions.”

The DOE has determined that the cyber network that supports many important functions within energy delivery systems is vulnerable to disturbances, Shetty added. He said the Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium (CREDC) is intended to identify and perform cutting-edge research and increase the resiliency of energy delivery systems. This includes helping industry identify reasons for investing in technology that increases cyber resiliency in EDS; developing, validating, and verifying high-impact solutions in partnership with industry advocates; and making developed solutions commercially available through development of open-source communities and licensing arrangements.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, called the partnership with the CREDC part of his college’s “strategic initiative” to train and educate a more diverse workforce in cyber security.

“The Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium will respond to the Department of Energy ‘s demand for detection, analysis, monitoring, and risk assessment technologies to protect energy delivery systems,” Hargrove said.  “It also will further enhance TSU’s capacity in cyber security.”

As part of an outreach effort, during the study, TSU will also focus on enhancing curriculum to incorporate EDS cyber security and cyber-resiliency issues, Shetty said. “The (TSU) team will focus on workforce development at undergraduate and graduate levels to provide a pipeline of well-trained engineers for these sectors.”

In addition to TSU and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the consortium includes research experts from Argonne National Laboratory, Arizona State University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Rutgers University, University of Houston and Washington State University.

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Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Computer Science Program Filling Critical Need for IT Professionals with Advanced Training

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – High-performance computing and bioinformatics, and cyber security and networking are two of the fastest growing areas in the information technology industry, but few universities are offering advanced degrees with these unique concentrations to meet the demand of students and professionals seeking career advancement or employment. But Tennessee State University has joined a handful of institutions that have answered the call.

Last fall, the University began offering a Master of Science in Computer Science degree with a focus on providing training that is on the cutting-edge. TSU is the only public higher education institution in Nashville offering the M.S. degree in Computer Science.

According to Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair and professor of the Department of Computer Science, the new degree program is also suitable for students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in Computer Science or related fields. He added that courses are scheduled in the evenings to accommodate working IT professionals.

shutterstock_59508448Sekmen said students could complete either the high-performance computing and bioinformatics, or cyber security and networking concentrations by pursuing a non-thesis option that requires 33 hours of coursework, or the thesis option that requires completion of 27 hours of coursework and a thesis. The thesis option is strongly recommended for students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree, he said.

“The demand for high performance computing (HPC) in industry and research has significantly increased in recent years,” Sekmen said. “HPC has become a dominant paradigm due to the rapid developments in computer architecture such as multi-core, multi-processer, graphic process units.”

Additionally, Sekmen said the global bioinformatics market has been growing in “double digits” with increased demands in medicine, healthcare, and life sciences.

“HPC and bioinformatics are driving the medical industry’s search for novel systems that will result in innovative therapies. As a result, it is highly important that TSU, as with many other universities, begin to provide opportunities for students to pursue this area of expertise,” Sekmen said.

Although enrollment in the TSU program has doubled initial projections since it started a year ago, it is still a small part of the huge demand. According to the 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the computer science job-opening forecast for 2010 through 2020 is 2.4 times larger than the number of computer science graduates. There will be about one million more jobs than students by 2020.

Between 2010 and 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security increased its cyber-security workforce by 500 percent, but the agency’s demand for more expertise in these critical areas remains very high, with a grim outlook. The U.S. is not producing enough people with the right skills set to make progress in the search for more cyber-security trained experts. When it comes to compensation, Sekmen said Computer Science is among the highest-paid fields in science, technology, and engineering, and the U.S. Department of Labor projects that it will continue to be one of the fastest growing occupations for the near future.

“Employers seek professionals with strong skills in programming and software systems, and development, areas that are strongly emphasized in our Master of Computer Science degree program,” Sekmen added.

For more information on the M.S. in Computer Science program contact Dr. Tamara Rogers at [email protected] or (615) 963-1520.