Systems and Cybersecurity

Computing systems is a broad area that refers to the design and development of the software that makes modern computing systems efficient and usable.  Sub-areas of systems research include operating sytems, storage systems, fault-tolerance, compilers, programming models and tools, power-aware systems, and many more.  A particulary important emerging area in systems research is cybersecurity, which has implications for all levels of systems research.

Complex Networks and Security Research (CNSR)

Contact: Wenjing Lou

The Complex Networks and Security Research (CNSR) Laboratory at Virginia Tech was founded in 2011 by Profs. Tom Hou and Wenjing Lou. It was merged from the former Complex Network Systems Lab in the ECE department and the former Cyber Security Lab in the CS department.

The mission of the new CNSR@VT lab is to conduct basic and applied research in a broad range of topics in networking, wireless, and cyber security. We explore novel concepts and ideas related to protocols and systems of the future pervasive cyber infrastructure, and design scalable architecture and trustworthy protocols for the next generation networks.

Research interests at CNSR@VT: 

  • Wireless Security: security and privacy in wireless networks and mobile computing, cognitive radio networks security, cross-layer methods for security enhancement, location privacy
  • Cross-layer Optimization: multi-hop cognitive radio ad hoc networks, multi-hop MIMO ad hoc networks
  • Algorithm Design and Optimization: for multi-hop cooperative communications, for wireless ad hoc and sensor networks, opportunistic routing, network coding
  • Security and Privacy in Cloud Computing: outsourced data privacy, search over encrypted data, computation outsourcing privacy
  • Security and Privacy in Cyber-physical Systems: e-healthcare systems and smart grid
  • Video Communications over Dynamic Ad Hoc Networks


Distributed Systems and Storage Laboratory

Contact: Ali Butt

DSSL is interested in the design, development, and evaluation of next-generation storage and file systems. Specifically, the research focuses on tailoring these systems for growing data demands of modern high-end computing applications running on existing as well as emerging multicore architectures. To this end, we aim for innovation in systems that range from large-scale distributed setups to specialized kernel-level optimizations.

Human-Centric Security Laboratory

Contact: Danfeng Yao

Our research is focused on cyber security, in particular network and information security, human-behaviors in computer security, user-centric and user-friendly systems, insider threats, secure information sharing, data privacy, and applied cryptography. We are interested in developing sound and quantifiable techniques for ensuring the integrity of computer and network systems, and protect them from advanced malicious software attacks as well as operational and accidental errors.

Mobile Computing Lab

Contact: Ing-Ray Chen

The Mobile Computing Lab studies design principles and evaluation methodologies for understanding and building systems support mechanisms for mobile computing systems including mobile ad hoc and sensor networks for achieveing the goal of anytime, anywhere computing in wireless mobile environments. The primary research focuses of the Mobile Computing Lab are in mobility management, data and service management, security and dependability aspects in mobile computing environments.


Contact: Barbara Ryder

PROLANGS@VT researches analysis-based approaches to solving real software engineering problems. We have developed static, dynamic, and hybrid analyses to help engineers maintain code, find security problems, locate bugs, and improve performance in their applications. We have implemented these analyses in tools for modern object-oriented programming languages such as Java and collaborated with industrial partners to evaluate our methodologies on real, production systems.

Specific current projects include:

  • semantic change impact analysis for Java programs within an integrated development environment (Eclipse) including techniques for finding fault-inducing changes in Java codes; algorithms for establishing safe early commits of edits, even in the presence of failing tests; and methods for using change impact feedback for decision making in a collaborative test-driven development process;
  • blended static+dynamic analyses, including performance diagnosis and program understanding of framework-intensive web application software, and enhanced software security analysis of Java systems.

Scape - SCAlable PErformance Laboratory

Contact: Kirk Cameron

The SCAlable PErformance (SCAPE) laboratory is directed by Professor Kirk W. Cameron. Our main research focus is the design, analysis and improvement of scalable systems and applications using emerging technologies.

Software Innovations Laboratory

Contact: Eli Tilevich

The Software Innovations Lab at Virginia Tech creates novel software tools that facilitate the development and maintenance of the computer systems of today and tomorrow. The Lab's research activities explore how advanced software engineering practices, including automatic code generation, program transformation, novel system designs and programming paradigms can assist in the development and sustainment of complex computer systems. Current research projects include automated refactoring of framework-based applications, novel architectures for high-performance bioinformatics software, new programming abstractions for distributed object systems, and automated program enhancement.

Synergy Laboratory

Contact: Wu Feng

The Systems, Networking, and Renaissance Grokking (SyNeRGy) Lab conducts basic and applied research that provides scientists and engineers with scalable and efficient computational tools that enable them to concentrate on their science and engineering rather than on the computer science and engineering. To that end, we explore a breadth of complementary intellectual activities that span the high- performance & enterprise-wide spectrum --- from systems software to middleware to applications software to tools --- in order to empower cyber-scientists and cyber-engineers of tomorrow.

Systems Software Laboratory

Contact: Godmar Back