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IBM and UMBC Collaborate to Advance Cognitive Cybersecurity

New Lab to Tackle National Cybersecurity Needs through Cognitive and Accelerated Computing

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. and BALTIMORE, M.D. - 10 May 2016: IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) today announced plans for a multi-year collaboration to create the Accelerated Cognitive Cybersecurity Laboratory (ACCL), which will be housed within the College of Engineering and Information Technology at UMBC. Opening in the fall of 2016, the lab will work to advance scientific frontiers in the application of cognitive computing to cybersecurity via analytics and machine learning, while also exploring specialized computer power optimized for these new intensive computing workloads.

Cybersecurity threats are growing in both volume and sophistication. This issue is compounded by a growing shortage of security professionals, expected to reach 1.5 million unfilled positions by 20201. With the ACCL, IBM and UMBC will explore new ways to apply cognitive technologies – which are able to digest, learn from, and reason over vast amounts of structured and unstructured data – to help cybersecurity professionals gain an advantage in the battle against cybercrime.

“There is a massive amount of security data that exists for human consumption, which cannot be processed by traditional security systems,” said J.R. Rao, Director, Security Research, IBM. “By exploring the intersection of cybersecurity and cognitive technology, we can leverage that untapped pool of data and evolve the way security professionals and technologies work together to help overcome cyber threats.”

The ACCL will be headed by Anupam Joshi, director of UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity and chair of computer science and electrical engineering at UMBC. He will be joined by a team of faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, and software engineers, who will bring together strong expertise in cognitive computing, accelerated and high performance computing, and cybersecurity. UMBC researchers will collaborate with IBM scientists to push the frontiers of research and develop innovative technology that will be able to, with a human analyst in the loop, detect, analyze and mitigate sophisticated threats quickly.

“UMBC faculty, and students in the College of Engineering and Information Technology are excited to expand our work on global scientific and cybersecurity challenges in collaboration with world class partners like IBM,” said Julie Ross, dean of the UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology.

The ACCL research will be conducted on IBM and OpenPOWER technology. The IBM Power Systems being implemented in the ACCL at UMBC are infused with acceleration technology from the OpenPOWER Foundation, making them ideally suited for cognitive and advanced analytics workloads, critical to the cyber security work the researchers will be conducting. In addition, researchers will receive technical development and support from IBM Systems Group.


This collaboration is part of IBM’s ongoing academic initiatives that help students develop skills and understanding of cognitive computing to meet the increasing demand for high-skilled technology professionals. UMBC is one of eight leading universities in North America working to train IBM's Watson for application in the cybersecurity space. Watson uses natural language processing to understand the vague and imprecise nature of human language in unstructured data. It can provide insights into emerging threats, as well as recommendations on how to stop them, increasing the speed and capabilities of security professionals.

About IBM Research

For more than seven decades, IBM Research has defined the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame.

For more information about IBM Research, visit www.ibm.com/research.

About University of Maryland, Baltimore County

UMBC is a leading public research university known for innovative teaching, relevant research across disciplines, and a supportive community that empowers and inspires inquisitive minds. UMBC serves 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and combines the learning opportunities of a liberal arts college with the creative intensity of a leading research university. At the same time, UMBC is one of the country’s most inclusive education communities. UMBC also contributes to Maryland through strong government and industry partnerships that advance K–16 education, entrepreneurship, workforce training, and technology commercialization. Through academic and research leadership, UMBC's Center for Cybersecurity encourages collaboration and innovation from faculty and students to further UMBC’s position as a leader in cybersecurity disciplines, in Maryland and across the nation.

For more information about the College of Engineering and Information Technology at UMBC, please visit coeit.umbc.edu/.

For more information about the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, please visit umbc.edu.

Contact(s) information

Cassy Lalan
IBM Security Media Relations
1 (319) 230-2232
cllalan@us.ibm.com

Megan Hanks
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
1 (410) 455-5791
mhanks@umbc.edu

Anna Sekaran
IBM Research Media Relations
1 (203) 434-3975
amsekara@us.ibm.com

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