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Yoon Receives Intel PhD Fellowship

7/21/2016 9:01:00 AM By Tom Moone, CS @ ILLINOIS

CS graduate student Man-Ki Yoon was one of just nine recipients of a 2014 Intel PhD Fellowship. The fellowship program recognizes top students in engineering and computer science.

Man-Ki Yoon
Man-Ki Yoon
Man-Ki Yoon

Yoon received the fellowship to support work on his dissertation “Secure Multicore Architecture for Embedded Systems,” which he is completing under the direction of CS Professor Lui Sha and Illinois ITI Research Scientist Sibin Mohan. His research examines the threats that are increasingly being placed upon embedded systems. These systems can be found in mobile devices, and in automated systems throughout industry.

“Modern embedded systems, ranging from mobile devices to automobile, industrial automation systems to name a few, are increasingly attracting security threats as they are delivering more functional and computational capabilities. These capabilities give more power to attackers to cause adverse impacts on human or environment safety, financial loss, privacy invasion, and so on,” explained Yoon. “Despite tremendous advances in security technologies for general-purpose systems, many embedded systems still rely on rather primitive, outdated countermeasures.”

Yoon’s research will work to address these security challenges inherent in embedded systems. He examines a combination of analytic and system architectural solutions for detecting threats to embedded systems.

Because it is not feasible to completely secure modern computing systems since they have many entry points that are vulnerable to attacks, monitoring the behavior of a system has become a source of attention for monitoring security. Yoon’s approach is an architectural solution called SecureCore. “SecureCore monitors the runtime behavior of applications on untrustworthy entities to detect security problems,” said Yoon. “It utilizes the behavioral predictability of real-time embedded applications in using low-level resources such as CPU cycles, memory, I/O, etc. Since security attacks would inevitably consume such low-level resources to execute, this enhances the security of such systems by enforcing a strong invariant on their execution behavior.”

The highly competitive fellowship provides $45,000 for stipend and tuition, as well as funds for travel to Intel locations and Intel-sponsored events, access to an Intel technical mentor, and priority consideration for internships and employment at Intel. Yoon said, “I am extremely honored to receive this fellowship.”

In 2013 Yoon, along with Fardin Abdi Taghi Abad, received a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for work on secure embedded systems. “The fact that this research is acknowledged by both Intel and Qualcomm, which are leaders in the computer industry, means that it has a great potential and impact in both academy and industry communities,” Yoon said.