Projects

ICSI hosts basic, pre-competitive research of fundamental importance to computer science and engineering. Projects are chosen based on the interests of the Institute’s principal investigators and the strengths of its researchers and affiliated UC Berkeley faculty.

Recent projects are listed below; the full list of each group's projects is accessible via the links listed in the sidebar.

Previous Work: Mobile Contextual Privacy

This project is rethinking how smartphones grant third-party applications access to sensitive user data. Currently, mobile platforms ask the user for permission the first time an application attempts to access certain data types; when access is granted, the user is never asked to make this decision again, even if the context in which subsequent data requests occur are substantially different from the context of the first request. For example, no distinction is made between using location data for location-based features and user tracking.

Usable Security and Privacy
Previous Work: Streaming Algorithms for Fundamental Computations in Numerical Linear Algebra

Streaming algorithms that use every input datum once (single-pass) or scan the input a small number of times (multiple passes) are gaining importance due to the increasing volumes of data that are available for business, scientific, and security applications. Performing large-scale data analysis and machine learning often requires addressing numerical linear algebra primitives, such as L2 regression, singular value decompositions, L1 regression, and canonical correlations.

Big Data
Shining Light on Non-Public Data Flows

This project looks into the usage and collection of data by programs that operate behind the scenes. The collected data and its use by a network of sellers, brokers, and marketers represents a direct privacy threat as it can be used for marketing, profiling, crime, or government surveillance, and yet consumers have little knowledge about it and no legal means to access the data. ICSI researchers are conducting surveys and experiments to determine the current status of this data and observe its effects.

Audio and Multimedia, Networking and Security
Understanding the State of TLS Using Large-scale Passive Measurements

This project leverages and extends the data collection of the ICSI SSL Notary for an extensive study of the real-world TLS/X.509 ecosystem through measurement-centric research. The SSL/TLS protocol suite constitutes the key building block of today’s Internet security, providing encryption and authentication for end-to-end communication with the help of an associated global X.509 public key infrastructure. However, from its first version in 1994 until today, researchers and practioners keep discovering TLS deficiencies undermining the protocol’s security on a regular basis.

Networking and Security
Towards a Science of Censorship Resistance

This project focuses on establishing a science of censorship resistance. Recent years have seen significant efforts on the part of both practitioners and researchers in countering large-scale Internet censorship imposed by nation-states. Driven by an active arms race, much of the research work in the field has been reactive in nature, lacking solid and methodical foundations.

Networking and Security
Previous Work: Security and Privacy for Wearable and Continuous Sensing Platforms

In this collaborative project, researchers at ICSI, UC Berkeley, and University of Washington are systematically exploring the security and privacy issues brought up by the increasing popularity of wearable computers. The recent demand for devices like Google Glass, smart watches, and wearable fitness monitors suggests that wearable computers may become as ubiquitous as cellphones.

Networking and Security, Usable Security and Privacy
Internet-Wide Vulnerability Measurement, Assessment, and Notification

Vulnerable software costs the U.S. economy more than $180 billion a year, and large-scale, remotely exploitable vulnerabilities affecting millions of Internet hosts have become a regular occurrence. This project seeks to reduce the impact of software vulnerabilities in Internet-connected systems by developing measurement-driven techniques for global vulnerability detection, assessment, and mitigation.

Networking and Security
Undermining Political “Scratch” Effects with Technology (UPSET)

This project leverages technology to significantly reduce the cost of political campaigns via the sharing economy, and thus undercut the impact of money on politics (http://benefunder.org/causes/84/nelson-morgan). While the technology is important, the resulting structural change is more so; designing an efficient “supply chain” of services between a skilled citizen force and the campaigns (see http://uprisecampaigns.org for the beginnings of a separate spinoff organization to implement these ideas in real campaigns).

Research Initiatives
Previous Work: Word Bug

ICSI Speech researchers are working with Versame to develop methods for the analysis of speech being directed at infants and toddlers, in order to provide better measures of the lexical stimulation they are getting. The initial project is focused on the counting of speech units from unrestricted audio, where the likely speech units are syllables or words.

Speech
Previous Work: Deep and Wide Learning for Automatic Speech Recognition

In this project, speech researchers are looking at trade-offs between two approaches to automatic speech recognition (ASR): signal processing of multiple acoustic features vs. using simpler features and relying on machine learning algorithms to replace feature engineering. The goal is not only to improve accuracy for difficult examples, but also to learn about the computational consequences for high performance computing.

Speech
Science of Security

In this collaborative project, researchers at ICSI are utilizing Carnegie Mellon University's Security Behavior Observatory (SBO) infrastructure to conduct quantitative experiments about how end-users make security decisions. The results of these experiments are used to design new security mitigations and interventions, which are then iteratively evaluated in the laboratory and the field. This collaboration is designed to provide keen insights into how users make security decisions in situ.

Networking and Security, Usable Security and Privacy
Extracting Event Attributes from Unstructured Textual Data for Persistent Situational Awareness

In this collaborative project with Decisive Analytics Corporation (DAC), FrameNet researchers are developing semantic frames for representing the attributes of complex events, which permit more fine-grained analysis than other event recognition frameworks. The researchers are developing event recognition methods focused on organizations and how they plan and carry out actions. These methods are broadly applicable to actions planned and carried out by all types of organizations, such as corporations, government agencies, military units, and insurgent groups. 

AI
A Software-Defined Internet Exchange

In this collaborative project with researchers from Georgia Tech and Princeton, ICSI researchers are finding incrementally deployable ways to leverage the power of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to improve interdomain routing. SDN has had a profound influence on how people think about managing networks. To date, however, it has had little impact on how separately administered networks are interconnected through BGP. Since many of the current failings of the Internet are due to BGP's poor performance and limited functionality, it is imperative that these methods are developted.

Networking and Security
Previous Work: Machine Learning Methods and Large Informatics Graphs

In this project, researchers are tackling several problems with machine learning methods and large informatics graphs. First, they are looking at local algorithms and locally-biased algorithms, specifically extending local algorithms to other objective functions and the characterization of statistical properties of local algorithms. Second, they are scaling the algorithms up to larger networks, focusing on scaling up strongly-local and locally-biased methods and implementations on graphs that do not fit into RAM.

Big Data
Previous Work: Characterizing and Exploiting Tree-Like Structure in Large Social and Information Networks

In this project, researchers are developing methods to characterize and exploit "tree-like" structure in realistic social and information networks. In particular, they are focused on two related but complementary notions of tree-like-ness, as well as related heuristic variants, for graphs. These notions will be used to develop tools to characterize the manner in which realistic complex networks are coarsely tree-like, and this characterization will be used to develop tools for improved analytics on realistic networks.

Big Data
Previous Work: How Does Deep Learning Improve Speech Recognition Accuracy?

The short-term goal of this project is to understand in a deep, quantitative way why methodology used in nearly all speech recognizers is so brittle. The long-term goal is to leverage this understanding by developing less brittle methodology that will enable more accurate speech recognition with a wider scope of applicability.

Speech
Randomized Numerical Linear Algebra (RandNLA) for Multi-Linear and Non-Linear Data

This project investigates two important, non-linear, structural settings in order to start making progress toward using RandNLA (Randomized Numerical Linear Algebra) approaches to big data analysis in situations where the underlying data exhibit non-linear structure. First, researchers investigate how to design the next generation of RandNLA algorithms that can handle data that exhibit multi-linear structures captured by tensors.

Big Data
Previous Work: Teaching Resources for Online Privacy Education (TROPE)

Researchers are developing classroom-ready teaching modules to educate young people about why and how to protect their privacy online, as well as a Teachers' Guide with background information, suggested lesson plans, and guidance on how to employ the modules in the classroom.

Audio and Multimedia, Networking and Security, Usable Security and Privacy
Previous Work: Preserving Unwritten Languages

In this project, researchers at ICSI are collaborating with Notre Dame to preserve unwritten languages in danger of disappearing. They are recording speech in a variety of genres and styles using mobile technologies. To enable productive linguistic and language-technology research in the future, they are adding respeaking, in which native speakers listen and repeat each phrase slowly and carefully, as well as oral translation, in which bilingual speakers of the language translate the recordings phrase by phrase into a widely used language such as English.

AI
Knowledge-Aided Interface for Big Data Streams

In this collaborative project with Mod9 Technologies, researchers from ICSI's Audio and Multimedia group and ICSI's FrameNet project seek to demonstrate real­time monitoring of broadcast news streams to support a tactical operations center (TOC). A primary focus of this effort is to exploit multimedia – audio­visual data containing speech, images, and metadata such as geo-location and personal identification – and integrate it into an intuitive and informative visualization for a TOC’s use.

Audio and Multimedia

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