Research

Network Visualization for Cyber Security   

The rapid growth of malicious activities on worldwide communication networks, such as the Internet, has highlighted the need for efficient intrusion detection systems. The efficiency of traditional intrusion detection systems is limited by their inability to effectively relay relevant information due to their lack of interactive/immersive technologies. We have explored several network visualization techniques geared towards intrusion detection on small and large-scale networks. We have also examined the use of haptics in network intrusion visualization. By incorporating concepts from electromagnetics, fluid dynamics, and gravitational theory, we have shown that haptic technologies can provide another dimension of information critical to the efficient visualization of network intrusion data. Furthermore, we have explored the applicability of these visualization techniques in conjunction with commercial network intrusion detectors. We created a network intrusion visualization application with haptic integration, NIVA, which allows the analyst to interactively investigate as well as efficiently detect structured attacks across time and space using advanced interactive three-dimensional displays.

Device Simulation & Visualization

The engineering of new electronic devices often demand large investments in research and development. We provide tools and methodologies that facilitate the development of such devices. In our lab we employ power simulation engines that a capable of modeling the complex physics principles that govern the flow of carriers within devices. Combined with our visualization tools, we can provide a complete view of the internal workings of conceptual designs before any fabrication begins. Our laboratories are cable of rendering our visual models stereoscopically on large 240 inc rear projection displays. When couples with our head and wand tracking technology, we can provide virtual walkthroughs of the simulated device that clearly uncover its inner workings.

Airport Traffic Simulation for Collision Avoidance Alerting

The Conflict Scenario Simulator (CSS) was designed to aid the FAA initiative to improve airport surface operations safety by helping flight crews avoid deficiencies in situational awareness that can contribute to runway incursions. CSS permits expedient assessment of incursion detection algorithms via a desktop workstation. It provides a flexible simulation environment that permits the creation of various scenarios and test modes, which allows researchers to quickly evaluate incursions detection algorithms for timing, missed alerts, and false alerts. CSS has undergone four full development cycles with full testing and validation Lockheed Martin Mission Services. New versions of CSS support better alert management, vehicle state visual cues, and vehicle route management. This is still an evolving project, which is guided by close interaction with the RIPs team at NASA Langley.

Mobile Tactical Ad-Hoc Network Visualization

We have developed simulation and visualization routines for mobile tactical ad hoc networks to allow network analysts at Army Research Labs to easily understand ad hoc network topology and to see patterns resulting from distributed attacks across time and space. This work has generated several journal and conference publications and invited workshop presentations. Through the use of OpenGL, Visualization Toolkit, OpenDX and Java3D a comprehensive software solution was developed to show how multi-dimensional data can be correlated and visualized. This was done in order to translate the massive amounts of information generated by typical network intrusion detection systems to accurately depict network situational awareness. As a means of maximizing information processing, the project also incorporated the use of haptic technologies to maximize information assimilation through an extra sensory channel (sight, sound, touch etc.) Furthermore, through a NSA grant, a network intrusion visualization application was developed for small and large-scale networks using traditional 2D graphing techniques and novel 3D graphing techniques involving force directed clustering methods with hyperbolic projection, and statistical visualization techniques.

Adapting Microsoft Surface for Battle Command Operations   

Morgan State University (MSU) in collaboration with the Collaborative Battlespace Reasoning and Awareness (COBRA) and the Tactical Human Integration of Network Knowledge (THINK) Advanced Technology Objective (ATO), are conducting a feasibility study in order to determine if suitable requirements and metrics for human-centric application design can be obtained for the Microsoft Surface device as it pertains to military projects. The development of these requirements necessitate the development of software algorithms, procedures, components and/or services to support THINK's mission objectives of using cognitive, computer and social sciences to improve distributed collaboration and decision-making, thereby increasing mission effectiveness and situational understanding. There are six main objectives that this research aims to accomplish: Increase shared situation awareness and shared understanding, enhance team collaboration and decision making, improve human-computer interaction through user interface design, decrease training and support costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase business process productivity.

Visualizing Standard Electromagnetic Principles for Educational Instruction

Studies showing that students in undergraduate engineering exhibit a stronger preference for the active, sensing, visual and sequential learning styles, indicating that virtual reality can potentially have a tremendous impact on engineering education. By providing learning environments rich in varied learning methods, educators can provide students with more diverse means of receiving and applying knowledge and information resulting in a more engaging and interactive educational setting. Such environments allow students to construct their own understanding of what they are studying through their interaction with the environment, and their use of the knowledge and skills that they already have to experiment and form a more conceptual understanding of the information. We have developed a 3D electromagnetic visualization tool designed to support undergraduate electromagnetic students in gaining an understanding of the theory of electromagnetics and provide conceptual views that offer insight into the behavior of their associated fields. In subjective tests, students found that the application was very useful in that it provided an overall context on an otherwise difficult and frustrating subject. In addition there was significant increase in student achievement after the integration of this tool within the classroom.

Finite Difference Time Domain Simulation of Radio Wave Propagation

There is a need to augment the researcher's capability to gain insight and improved understanding of the underlying principles and operations of complex electronic tactical environments. The effective use of visualization techniques as a research tool holds great promise and has yet to be fully exploited for the analysis of these multifunctional environments. Towards this end, we developed a scalable, adaptable and configurable electronic mapping tool for the visualization of large-scale electronic military communications systems and environments. The purpose of this project was to augment situational awareness in complex electronic tactical environments with rich interactive interfaces.