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Goldman Sachs Distinguished Lecture – Laurie Williams

March 27 @ 9:50 am - 11:30 am

Laurie Williams
Interim Department Head
North Carolina State University

March 27, 2017
2250 WEB

10:00 am lecture
11:30 am reception (3147 MEB)

Host: Suresh Venkatasubramanian


The Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: The Advancement of Science in Cyber Security

Stolen passwords, compromised medical records, vulnerable lighting systems – cybersecurity breaches are in the news every day. Despite all this, the practice of cybersecurity today is generally reactive rather than proactive. That is, rather than improving their defenses in advance, organizations react to attacks once they have occurred by patching the individual vulnerabilities that led to those attacks. Researchers engineer solutions to the latest form of attack. What we need, instead, are scientifically founded design principles for building in security mechanisms from the beginning, giving protection against broad classes of attacks. Through scientific measurement, we can improve our ability to make decisions that are evidence-based, proactive, and long-sighted. Recognizing these needs, the US National Security Agency (NSA) devised a new framework for collaborative research, the “Lablet” structure, with the intent to more aggressively advance the science of security. A key motivation was to catalyze a shift in relevant areas towards a more organized and cohesive scientific community. The NSA named Carnegie Mellon University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign its initial Lablets in 2011, and added the University of Maryland in 2014.

This talk will reflect on the structure of the collaborative research efforts of the Lablets, lessons learned in the transition to more scientific concepts to cybersecurity, and methods that are being used for the measurement of scientific progress of the Lablet research.

Laurie Williams is the Interim Department Head of Computer Science and a Professor in the Computer Science Department of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Laurie is a co-director of the NCSU Science of Security Lablet sponsored by the National Security Agency. Laurie’s research focuses on software security; agile software development practices and processes; software reliability, software testing and analysis; and broadening participation and increasing retention in computer science.


March 27
9:50 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


2250 WEB