Category: Research

Masters programme in Cybersecurity will get funded with 90 m.kr. by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

Helmut Neukirchen, 12. January 2023

The list of proposals that got funded. We are on place 4.

University of Iceland and Reykjavik University applied together for funding in order to start a joint study Masters's programme in Cybersecurity. Today, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation announced (including video recording) that the two universities will together get for the project Nytt meistaranám í netöryggi 90 million ISK funding over 2 years from the university collaboration fund (Samstarf háskóla). This is a great collaboration between the professors of computer science interested in cybersecurity at both universities, facilitated by EDIH-IS, the European Digital Innovation Hub in Iceland, where both universities are as well involved in digital innovation, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or High-Performance Computing (HPC).

The new cybersecurity programme funding is announced (ignore the HA and Bifröst -- that's a typo)

While the schedule is tight, the plan is to offer as a start a Cybersecurity specialisation of the Computer Science Master's programme at each university already this autumn, i.e. 2023. Students can then apply at their preferred university, but take as well courses at the other university. (There is another project that got 35 m.kr. funding to enable technically, i.e. on the IT and learning management system side, but also administratively, i.e. collaboration contracts, taking master's courses at other universities. But I doubt that this is ready when we would need it already in autumn 2023.)

The project to make taking MSc courses everywhere come true

Later, this Computer Science specialisation is supposed to become a study programme on its own.

The funding will be used to hire professors, but also to import distance teaching courses from abroad.

Icelandic National Coordination Centre (NCC-IS) for Cybersecurity established

Helmut Neukirchen, 15. November 2022

We just established the Icelandic National Coordination Centre (NCC-IS) for Cybersecurity. It is is a common platform for cooperation in cybersecurity issues, composed of the following public entities: the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannis), the Electronic Communications Office (ECOI/Fjarskiptastofa), the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IS), the University of Iceland (UoI), Reykjavík University (RU), and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO/Auðna tæknitorg) Iceland.

NCC-IS operates in the context of Regulation (EU) 2021/887 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2021 that establishes the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre (ECCC) and the Network of National Coordination Centres (NCCs).

The core tasks of NCC-IS are:

  • Monitor and support actions: Monitoring and contributing to progress on national cybersecurity strategy activities regarding education, research, and development.
  • Provide expertise and link to ECCC and NCC-Network: Ensuring contribution to and coordination with the ECCC and the Network and supporting their strategic tasks.
  • Manage and coordinate funding: Managing and coordinating funding from the Digital Europe Programme and Horizon Europe for cybersecurity-related projects. Encouraging and assisting civil society, industry, SMEs, and academia in participating in cybersecurity actions (e.g., cascade funding, national funding contributions, etc.).
  • Raise awareness and build a cybersecurity Community: Acting as a central point for the national and European cybersecurity community, disseminating relevant outcomes of the work of the NCC-IS and NCC-Network, the Community, and the ECCC at the national level.
  • Develop and disseminate educational programmes: Coordinating, implementing and sharing educational activities and fostering cybersecurity skill building and training (e.g. gap analysis, competence mapping).
  • Support research and innovation: Identifying relevant research partners, promoting and strengthening dialogue in cybersecurity research and innovation fields.

Later, the NCC-IS will apply for European funding within the TOPIC ID: DIGITAL-ECCC-2022-CYBER-03-NAT-COORDINATION addressing the corresponding call for proposals call text.

To prevent any misunderstandings: NCC-IS will not take over the job of CERT-IS (or any other party) nor is NCC-IS a Security Operation Center (SOC). NCC-IS is rather an add-on to existing activities in order to raise awareness, co-ordinate actions, and improve education and research related to Cybersecurity on national and European level.

University of Iceland is in charge of developing and disseminate educational programmes, i.e. coordinating, implementing and sharing educational activities and fostering cybersecurity skill building and training. You are welcome to contact me if you are offering, e.g., training course or are interesting in getting updates on available training.

Cybersecurity is now more in the focus of politics and has now an own government web page.

European Researchers Night 2022 / Vísindavaka 2022

Helmut Neukirchen, 15. November 2022

After two years of COVID break, Vísindavaka, the Icelandic European Researchers Night 2022 took place on 1 Oct 2022 and it was a real success: while we had 5700 visitors in 2019, we had significantly more this year: the official number is 6400 visitors, but my feeling is that it was even higher.

The Computer Science department had a booth showcasing some of its research.

Silence before the storm:

While we still need to work on the gender diversity of the team, we had at least a diverse range of exhibits: from creating art using neural networks over to an industrial 3D scanner, remote sensing where satellite images are analysed, to software engineering with sketches on a touch screen, cybersecurity and our Center of Excellence RAISE.

Cybersecurity

October is the European Cybersecurity Month and we had a flyer for kids (Hvernig á að vera öruggur á netinu) and a quiz for more grown ups in order to raise awareness for cybersecurity.

CoE RAISE

CoE RAISE (Research on AI- and Simulation-Based Engineering at Exascale) gave a glimpse into neural networks by using a neural network that runs purely in your browser without any connection to a super computer. Simply use the camera of your smartphone (or laptop) to detect objects in real-time Just open the following web page and allow your browser to use the camera: https://nvndr.csb.app/.

(Allow a some seconds up to a minute for loading the trained model and initialisation.)

The used approach is Single Shot Detector (SSD) (the percentage shows how sure the neural network is about the classification) using the Mobilenet neural network architecture. The dataset used for training is COCO (Common Objects in Context), i.e. only objects of the labeled object classes contained in COCO will get detected. The Javascript code that is running in your browser uses Tensorflow Lite and its Object Detection API and model zoo.

Fun fact: a toy car in the foreground and person in the background next to it is classified as a skateboard -- I guess the neural network learned that a thing with two wheels and a something classified as person on top is a skateboard (this limitation of a neural network is a good example to discuss risks and chances of AI):

In addition, the work from the Sound of Vision is given an AI twist in CoE RAISE, so we head also a 3D scanner that scans the shape of your ear in order to calculate how the shape of your ear influences how you hear from different directions.

Finally, the remote sensing demonstration relates also to work done in CoE RAISE where neural networks are used to classify land cover from satellite images. Visitors could compete against a neural network to classify land cover.

EOSC-Nordic final meeting and presenting CoE RAISE and EOSC-Nordic at eScience 2022 workshops in Salt Lake City

Helmut Neukirchen, 11. October 2022

After the EOSC-Nordic project's kickoff meeting was face to face in late 2019 (just before COVID pandemics), the final meeting was finally again face to face. I gave a presentation there on cross-border computing via portals:

The week after was the IEEE eScience conference, where I gave two presentations:

A presentation on the Interaction Room for HPC and ML (used in the CoE RAISE project) at the SE4SCIENCE workshop: PPT and PDF.

And another presentation at the REWORDS workshop related to the above EOSC-Nordic presentation: PPT and PDF.

When I arrived in the US, I noticed that my phone with a SIM card from Vodafone Iceland did not work. Once I had WiFi, I was able to send Vodafone Iceland an email and their answer was that there are currently issues with their roaming in the US. So prepare for a digital detox while being in the US with a SIM card from Vodafone Iceland.

Communication with buoys using LoRa (CommBuoy) project funded by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration Research Fund

Helmut Neukirchen, 7. March 2022

LoRa is a long-range, low-power (but also low-bandwidth) wireless communication suitable for IoT, such as transmitting sensor data.

This one-year project Communication with buoys using LoRa (CommBuoy) received 1.8 million Icelandic krona funding from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration Research Fund. Together with me, Sæmundur Þorsteinsson from the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering and my Computer Science collegue Esa Hyytiä are investigators in this project. Should any student be interested to work in this, e.g. as final M.Sc. project, please contact Helmut.

EOSC-Nordic Knowledge Hub

Helmut Neukirchen, 29. September 2021

The EOSC-Nordic project has a knowledge hub that contains knowledge on using the European Open Science Cloud, e.g. services for storing and finding research data or accessing cross-border scientific computing (in particular with a Nordic focus): https://www.eosc-nordic.eu/knowledge-hub/.

PhD Defense Federated Access to Collaborative Compute and Data Infrastructures

Helmut Neukirchen, 29. June 2021

Shiraz Memon successfully defended his PhD thesis in Computer Science on Federated Access to Collaborative Compute and Data Infrastructures. The thesis covers how researchers can perform eScience by discovering services (such as accessing data and processing data) on remote research and e-infrastructures and authenticate (such as logging in order to use the service) and how authorization can be done (i.e. deciding which services are allowed to be used).

The thesis was streamed, Wed, 30. June 2021 starting from 09:30 (UTC), and the recording is available via: https://livestream.com/hi/doktorsvornshmedshirazmemon

PhD defense announcement

This PhD is an example of the collaboration between the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science and Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC).

Members of the PhD commitee were Morris Riedel, Helmut Neukirchen, and Matthias Book, opponents were David Wallom and Shukor Abd Razak. The head of faculty, Rúnar Unnþórsson, was steering the defense.

Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies programme: Dynamical Exascale Entry Platform - Extreme Scale Technologies (DEEP-EST) about to finish

Helmut Neukirchen, 26. April 2021

The Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies programme: Dynamical Exascale Entry Platform - Extreme Scale Technologies (DEEP-EST) project has finished its work and was praised for its results in the final review of the project's outcome.

We still have to harvest our results by writing publications on the results, but you can find a video already here:

All our travel emissions have been offset. As it is not clear whether funding regulations allow to offset emissions due to supercomputer energy consumption, these were not compensated. However, one of the research topics of the DEEP-EST project was energy efficiency and we achieved a lot by using specialised (=more efficient) accelerator hardware.

CoE RAISE Seminar: HPC Systems Engineering in the Interaction Room

Helmut Neukirchen, 14. April 2021

The European Centre of Excellence RAISE (Research on AI- and Simulation-Based Engineering at Exascale) is holding an online seminar on using the Interaction Room Software Engineering approach for HPC Systems Engineering.

This approach has been described in this publication:
Matthias Book, Morris Riedel, Helmut Neukirchen, Markus Götz.
Facilitating Collaboration in High Performance Computing Projects with an Interaction Room.
The 4th ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Software Engineering for Parallel Systems (SEPS 2017). Co-located with SPLASH 2017 as an ACM SIGPLAN-approved workshop.
October 23, 2017, Vancouver, Canada. DOI: 10.1145/3141865.3142467, ACM Digital Library 2017.
Download

The recording of the online seminar can now be found on the CoE RAISE YouTube channel:

Stafræni Háskóladagurinn 2021: Object detection using neural networks in your smartphone trained by a supercomputer

Helmut Neukirchen, 25. February 2021

The University of Iceland's Computer Science department is researching machine learning using the next generation's supercomputer DEEP-EST -- by the way: we are also offering a Data Science specialisation in our Computer Science programme, where, e.g., machine learning including deep neural networks is covered. To showcase what is possible if you have a supercomputer to train neural networks, we offer a web page that allows you to use the camera of your smartphone (or laptop) to detect objects in real-time.

https://nvndr.csb.app/

Just open the following web page and allow your browser to use the camera: https://nvndr.csb.app/
(Allow up to approx. 1 minute for loading the trained neural network and for initialisation. Web page works best in landscape orientation.)

While neural networks are still best trained on a supercomputer, such as DEEP-EST with its Data Analysis Module, the trained neural network even runs in the browser of a smartphone (purely running locally as Javascript in your browser without any connection to a supercomputer, i.e. completely offline after having downloaded the Javascript code and the trained neural network).

The used approach is Single Shot Detector (SSD) (the percentage shows how sure the neural network is about the classification) using the MobileNet neural network architecture. The dataset used for training is COCO (Common Objects in Context), i.e. only objects of the labeled object classes contained in COCO will get detected. The Javascript code that is running in your browser uses Tensorflow Lite and its Object Detection API.

Example object detection via a neural network

If you want learn more about the DEEP-EST project where the next generation supercomputer is developed, have a look at the poster below (click on the picture below for PDF version):

PDF of DEEP-EST poster