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EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Algorithmic Extremism: Examining YouTube's Rabbit Hole of Radicalization"

Topic: 
Algorithmic Extremism: Examining YouTube's Rabbit Hole of Radicalization
Abstract / Description: 

YouTube's recommendation algorithm is frequently characterized by journalists and researchers as radicalizing users to the far-right, but the evidence to date has been weak. We used data collected from the YouTube website to analyze the balance in recommendation impressions to see if it is favoring more extreme content. 768 US political channels were categorized into culturally relevant orientations and sub-cultures and 23M recommendations for recent videos were recorded during November-December 2019. We found that the late 2019 recommendation algorithm actively discourages viewers from being presented with fringe content. The algorithm is shown to favor mainstream media and cable news content over independent YouTube channels with a slant towards partisan political channels like Fox News and Last Week Tonight

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "A two part talk: (1) Thunderclap; (2) CHERI"

Topic: 
A two part talk: (1) Thunderclap: A Research Platform for I/O Security; (2) CHERI: Capability Hardware-Enhanced RISC Instructions
Abstract / Description: 

(1) Thunderclap: A Research Platform for I/O Security; (2) CHERI: Capability Hardware-Enhanced RISC Instructions This is a two-part talk on SRI's joint work with the UK University of Cambridge.

(1) The first part is based on a paper that is part of our CHERI hardware-software development projects

A. Theodore Markettos, Colin Rothwell, Brett F. Gutstein, Allison Pearce, Peter G. Neumann, Simon W. Moore, and Robert N. M. Watson, Thunderclap: Exploring Vulnerabilities in Operating-System IOMMU Protection via DMA from Untrustworthy Peripherals, Network and Distributed Systems Security (NDSS 2019), San Diego CA, 24-27 February 2019.
Direct Memory Access (DMA) attacks have been known for many years: DMA-enabled I/O peripherals have complete access to the state of a computer and can fully compromise it including reading and writing all of system memory. With the popularity of Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C and smart internal devices, opportunities for these attacks to be performed casually with only seconds of physical access to a computer have greatly broadened. In response, commodity hardware and operating-system (OS) vendors have incorporated support for Input-Output Memory Management Units (IOMMUs), which impose memory protection on DMA, and are widely believed to protect against DMA attacks. We investigate the state-of-the-art in IOMMU protection across OSes using a novel I/O-security research platform, and find that current protections fall short when faced with a functional network peripheral that uses its complex interactions with the OS for ill intent. We describe vulnerabilities in macOS, FreeBSD, and Linux, which notionally utilize IOMMUs to protect against DMA attackers. Windows uses the IOMMU only in limited cases. and it remains vulnerable. Using Thunderclap, an open-sourced FPGA research platform that we built, we explore new classes of OS vulnerability arising from inadequate use of the IOMMU. The complex vulnerability space for IOMMU-exposed shared memory available to DMA-enabled peripherals allows attackers to extract private data (sniffing cleartext VPN traffic) and hijack kernel control flow (launching a root shell) in seconds using devices such as USB-C projectors or power adapters. We have worked closely with OS vendors to remedy these vulnerability classes, and they have now shipped substantial feature improvements and mitigations as a result of our work. The paper and subsequent developments are at http://www.thunderclap.io.

(2) The second part of this talk is a summary of the ongoing CHERI (Capability Hardware-Enhanced RISC Instructions) hardware-software developments, which began in 2010. Several hardware prototype variants exist with full operating system and compiler support. Tech transfer is ongoing.

 

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Locking the Web Open--a Call for a New, Decentralized Web"

Topic: 
Locking the Web Open--a Call for a New, Decentralized Web
Abstract / Description: 

Thirty years after the World Wide Web was created, can we now make it better? How can we ensure that our most important values: privacy, free speech, and open access to knowledge are enshrined in the code itself? In a provocative call to action, entrepreneur and Open Internet advocate, Brewster Kahle, challenges us to build a better, decentralized Web based on new distributed technologies. He lays out a path to creating a new Web that is reliable, private, but still fun—in order to lock the Web open for good.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Solving Cybersecurity As an Economic Problem"

Topic: 
Solving Cybersecurity As an Economic Problem
Abstract / Description: 

Conventional cybersecurity technologies have been deployed for decades, yet we hear of a major cyberattack seemingly weekly. What is going on? In this talk, Alex Gounares, CEO of Polyverse Corporation and former Technology Advisor to Bill Gates will explore the fundamental issues behind cyberattacks and discuss some radical new approaches to solving the cybersecurity challenge.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "The Current State of Cybersecurity"

Topic: 
The Current State of Cybersecurity
Abstract / Description: 

Barracuda Networks, Inc. provides security, networking and data protection products based on appliances and cloud services. These solutions protect customers from cyberattacks via threat vectors including email, network, web application, web browsing and remote access. In this talk, Fleming Shi will examine the current state of Cybersecurity protection, share sample cases and explain how Barracuda protects against advanced persistent threats, phishing scams, and web application data breaches.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Persistent and Unforgeable Watermarks for DeepNeural Networks"

Topic: 
Persistent and Unforgeable Watermarks for DeepNeural Networks
Abstract / Description: 

As deep learning classifiers continue to mature, model providers with sufficient data and computation resources are exploring approaches to monetize the development of increasingly powerful models. Licensing models is a promising approach, but requires a robust tool for owners to claim ownership of models, i.e. a watermark. Unfortunately, current watermarks are all vulnerable to piracy attacks, where attackers embed forged watermarks into a model to dispute ownership. We believe properties of persistence and piracy resistance are critical to watermarks, but are fundamentally at odds with the current way models are trained and tuned.

In this work, we propose two new training techniques (out-of-bound values and null-embedding) that provide persistence and limit the training of certain inputs into trained models. We then introduce wonder filters, a new primitive that embeds a persistent bit-sequence into a model, but only at initial training time. Wonder filters enable model owners to embed a bit-sequence generated from their private keys into a model at training time. Attackers cannot remove wonder filters via tuning, and cannot add their own filters to pretrained models. We provide analytical proofs of key properties, and experimentally validate them over a variety of tasks and models. Finally, we explore a number of adaptive counter-measures, and show our watermark remains robust.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Tales from the Risks Forum"

Topic: 
Tales from the Risks Forum
Abstract / Description: 

Peter G. Neumann has moderated the ACM Risks Forum (risks.org) since its inception in 1985. RISKS has reported and discussed a broad spectrum of problems in computer systems, misconceptions, and human failings over the years. In an unusual format for EE380, this session will revisit some of more memorable risks discovered and how they were mitigated. Live attendees will have an opportunity to share unpublished risks they have found, as time permits. (Please limit your proposed contribution to 3 PDF slides.)

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Neural Networks on Chip Design from the User Perspective"

Topic: 
Neural Networks on Chip Design from the User Perspective
Abstract / Description: 

To apply neural networks to different applications, various customized hardware architectures are proposed in the past a few years to boost the energy efficiency of deep learning inference processing. Meanwhile, the possibilities of adopting emerging NVM (Non-Volatile Memory) technology for efficient learning systems, i.e., in-memory-computing, are also attractive for both academia and industry. We will briefly review our past effort on Deep learning Processing Unit (DPU) design on FPGA in Tsinghua and Deephi, and then talk about some features, i.e. interrupt and virtualization, we are trying to introduce into the accelerators from the user's perspective. Furthermore, we will also talk about the challenges for reliability and security issues in NN accelerators on both FPGA and NVM, and some preliminary solutions for now.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Shriram 104

CANCELLED - SPECIAL SEMINAR: Recent Advances in Diagnosis and Error Correcting Codes

Topic: 
CANCELLED -- a future date is being explored --
Abstract / Description: 

Cancelled

This talk has been cancelled because EE380 requires a video of the presentation. The speakers talk includes unpublished ideas and results which can be disclosed to a small group but not to a large group over broadcast video.
Hopefully the talk will be rescheduled next week for a small live audience of specialists. Watch for an announcement if you are interested. 


 

This presentation will highlight some of our recent research results in developing new diagnosis techniques as well as constructing new error correcting codes (ECC) well suited for emerging memory technologies. In particular, a fundamentally new approach for extracting diagnostic information from output response data highly compacted in multiple input signature registers (MISRs) will be described. This approach is based on symbolic canceling and can significantly increase the precision of error location information without requiring any additional hardware or data to be collected. Emerging memory technologies (e.g., phase change memories, spin transfer torque magnetic RAM, etc.) have new error mechanisms and higher error rates than traditional memories. New ECCs with more attractive decoding latency and complexity will be presented for addressing these reliability challenges.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 - 4:00pm
Venue: 
Gates 415

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