Electrical and Computer Engineering Fiber Optics
Syed Murshid, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Florida Institute of Technology, was recently awarded a patent for his fiber optics system by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The patent, titled, “Array of concentric CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) photodiodes for detection and de-multiplexing of spatially modulated optical channels,” is the fifth awarded to Murshid in his distinguished career.
The process, dubbed spatial-domain multiplexing (SDM) by its developers, is believed to be a significant step for the future of fiber optics. The aim of the patented process is to improve the functionality of photodiodes which are used to convert light into electric current and adapt them to SDM applications.
In 1997 Murshid earned his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Florida Tech where he now teaches optical electronics, fiber optics, virtual instrumentation and electrical circuits courses. Prior to joining the Florida Tech faculty in 1999, Murshid worked for the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Research Institute on a research grant sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.
To learn more about Murshid’s research and patents visit www.fit.edu/faculty/profiles.
Computer Science and Security
Three computer science professors at Florida Institute of Technology recently were awarded a patent for their work titled “System and method of generically detecting the presence of emulated environments.” The United States Department of Commerce honored the inventors, Richard Ford, William Allen and Gerald Marin for their industrious pursuit in the field of computer security and software protection.
The patent addresses the problem of very high-end rootkits and malware, which can bury themselves deep under the operating system, creating an environment designed to hide the attackers’ presence. The newly patented method of defense focuses on subtle changes the malware makes to statistical properties of the system; such changes can be used to determine if a particular program is running in a synthetic or otherwise virtual environment. Traditional approaches rely on detecting traces of the malware itself; the Florida Tech invention discloses an entirely new way of detecting such attacks.
As noted above, some computer viruses depend on programs to be running in such environments; this allows the previously undetectable malware to take over the system and access its memory. The researchers’ method of detection also helps prevent software from being reverse-engineered.
Ford is director of the university’s Harris Institute for Assured Information. He is also an active participant on state and national levels in technology commercialization and computer security, and serves as senior and executive editor of Computers & Security and Virus Bulletin respectively. He is also president/CEO of the anti-malware industry consortium, AMTSO. Allen’s current research involves the collection and analysis of malicious code, improving the security of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) devices to protect critical infrastructure and improve software design methodologies for more secure software. Marin joined Florida Tech in August 2003 after a long career in industry, principally with IBM Corp.
To learn more about Florida Tech’s computer science department visit http://coe.fit.edu/cs.
Ocean Engineering and Oceanography
Steven Jachec, Florida Institute of Technology assistant professor of ocean engineering and a 2011 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator, recently received a $303,000 grant from the ONR. The grant funds work in coastal oceanography and coastal resources that also involves Vietnamese researchers.
Jachec will collaborate with U.S. and Vietnamese scientists to better understand the interaction of ambient coastal ocean flows, including internal waves, with Mekong River Delta outflows in South Vietnam. He will team with observers and theorists while leading the numerical modeling portion of this work, using high-performance computing such as Graphics Processor Units (GPUs), made popular by the video gaming industry.
The basic research goals include improving the understanding of large river discharges during monsoon conditions and how they impact the coastal ocean circulation. This work will form the Ph.D. dissertation topic for a Florida Tech student mentored by Jachec. In addition to research, Jachec will teach numerical flow modeling workshops in Vietnam during summer 2014.
“I am very grateful to the Office of Naval Research for the opportunity to be part of this valuable research initiative,” said Jachec.