Rapid technological advance and computer-based weapons systems have created the need for net-centric military superiority. Overseas commitments and operations stretch net-centricity with global networking requirements, government and commercial off-the-shelf technology, secure computing over blue and gray networks, agility, and mobility. Assured Cloud Computing is needed by US Cyber Command to implement the United States Air Force (USAF) vision of global vigilance, global reach, and global power. The Assured Cloud Computing-University Center of Excellence (ACC-UCoE) is a joint effort of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Air Force Research Laboratory Technology Directorate (AFRL), the Information Trust Institute (ITI) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) performing state of the art research by providing technical exchange and educating students in vital secure cloud computing sciences and technologies needed to fly, fight, and win in air, space, as well as cyberspace. Assured mission-critical cloud computing across blue and/or gray networks requires the realization of end-to-end and cross-layered security, dependability, and timeliness. That is, computations and computing systems should survive malicious attacks and accidental failures; they should be secure; and they should execute in a timely manner. End-to-end implies that the properties should hold throughout the lifetime of individual events, e.g., a packet transit or a session between two machines, and that they should be assured in a manner that is independent of the environment through which such events pass. Similarly, cross-layer encompasses multiple layers from the end-device through the network and up to the applications or computations at the data center. A survivable and distributed cloud-computing-based infrastructure requires the configuration and management of dynamic systems-of-systems with both trusted and partially trusted resources (data, sensors, networks, computers, etc.) and services sourced from multiple organizations. To assure mission-critical computations and workflows that rely on such dynamically configured systems-of-systems, we must ensure that a given configuration does not violate any security or reliability requirements. Furthermore, we should be able to model the trustworthiness of a workflow or computations completion for a given configuration in order to specify the right configuration for high assurances.
Our program encompasses the architecture, design, testing, and formal verification for assured cloud computing. The research proposes approaches using formal methods to analyze, reason, prototype and evaluate architectures, designs and performance of secure, timely, fault-tolerant, mission-oriented cloud computing. It examines a wide range of necessary assured cloud computing components and many different necessary concerns of these systems. Furthermore, our program engages AFRL in technological exchange, integrating their personnel into our research agenda, and providing focused education delivery.
Our program provides research into:
- Flexible and dynamic distributed cloud-computing-based architectures that are survivable
- Novel security primitives, protocols, and mechanisms to secure and support assured computations
- Algorithms and techniques to enhance end-to-end timeliness of computations
- Algorithms that detect security policy or reliability requirement violations in a given configuration
- Algorithms that dynamically configure resources for a given workflow based on security policy and reliability requirements
- Algorithms, models, and tools to estimate the probability of completion of a workflow for a given configuration
Further, using our formal methods approaches, the designed architectures, algorithms, protocols, and techniques may be formally analyzed to verify the properties they enable. Prototypes and implementations may be built, formally verified against specifications, tested as components in real systems, and their performance evaluated.
This proposal’s strengths are the quality of our researchers, the breadth and depth of the research our team can provide, the proven capability of delivering education and technological exchanges, and the demonstrable organizational capacity of the Information Trust Institute in which the ACC-UCoE will be housed. The deliverables from this center will be
- research of new algorithms and techniques
- engineering the development and experimental evaluation of prototypes
- workforce development in education and technical exchange.