14 Illinois CS or Affiliated Faculty Earn C3.ai DTI Projects Focused on AI to Transform Cybersecurity and Secure Critical Infrastructure

6/8/2022 Aaron Seidlitz, Illinois CS

About $6.5 million in funding went to faculty from seven different universities for collaborative and multidisciplinary work on this research topic.

Written by Aaron Seidlitz, Illinois CS

Earlier this spring, C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute (DTI) announced its third round of funded advanced research awards focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) to harden information security and secure critical infrastructure.

Illinois Computer Science is included in five of the six projects led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which includes a combination of 14 department and affiliated faculty members working on the five projects.

Additionally, Illinois CS and affiliated faculty are involved in five more projects led by other institutions.

Tandy Warnow
Tandy Warnow

“In putting together this solicitation, the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute identified cybersecurity research as a critically important need for the nation. We are delighted by the response from our own faculty, and from faculty at collaborating institutions, to this solicitation, who have proposed outstanding research projects to address this need,” said Tandy Warnow, Illinois CS professor and Co-Chief Scientist for C3.ai DTI.

In total, the Institute awarded a total of $6.5 million in cash awards to leading research scientists at Illinois, University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, University of Chicago, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We are covering the field applying AI to counter the most sophisticated adversarial attacks – from early detection to identification to neutralization,” said Rayadurgam Srikant, professor with Electrical and Computer Engineering and Co-Director for C3.ai DTI.

Twenty-four projects were awarded $100,000 to $700,000 each, for an initial period of one year. Illinois CS involvement on projects led by UIUC include:

  • Security for Large-Scale Infrastructure Using Probabilistic Programming
  • Protecting Critical Infrastructures Against Evolving Insider Threats
  • REFL: Resilient Distributed Cybersecurity Learning System
  • Multi-Facet Rare Event Modeling of Adaptive Insider Threats
  • Blockchain Forensics

Illinois CS involvement on projects led by other institutions include:

  • Deep-Learning detection algorithms for advanced persistent attacks in mixed-autonomy traffic: design and experimental validation (Led by University of California, Berkeley)
  • Robust and Scalable Forensics for Deep Neural Networks (Led by University of Chicago)
  • Statistical Learning Theory and Graph Neural Networks for Identifying Attack Sources (Led by Princeton University)
  • Causal reasoning for real-time attack identification in cyber-physical systems (Led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology)
  • An Intelligence platform for Better Security in Decentralized Finance (Led by University of California, Berkeley)
  • Cyber Safety Cage for Networks (Led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

“Cybersecurity is an immediate existential issue,” said Thomas M. Siebel, chairman and CEO of C3 AI, a leading enterprise AI software provider. “We are equipping top scientists with the means to advance technology to help secure critical infrastructure.”

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This story was published June 8, 2022.