New England Security Day

WPI will host third annual New England Security Day to bring together students, researchers, and other cybersecurity experts
November 23, 2016

Cybersecurity experts from across New England will gather at WPI on November 28 to share the latest advances in the field.

The third event of its kind (the others were held at UMass Amherst and Harvard University), New England Security Day will bring together practitioners, researchers, students, and funding partners at a time when cybersecurity is being challenged on every level.

Robert Walls

“It’s a large scope," says event organizer Robert Walls, assistant professor of computer science, “keeping machines safe when people browse the Internet, keeping bad guys from infecting computers, keeping government and corporate data safe—everything falls under cybersecurity.”

He says the event at WPI will give students and faculty a chance to meet and interact with some of the leaders in the field, while showcasing what WPI has to offer.

“It’s an opportunity for people to come and see our campus,” Walls says.

Professors and students from MIT, Dartmouth, Yale, UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell, among others, will join corporate representatives from MITRE Corp., BBN Technologies, and Draper for a day of talks.

Walls says the day is held once a semester and was conceived as a way for people working in the field to come together and not only share research, but also get to know one another better.

“It’s a way to foster collaboration,” he adds.

Walls, who is from Dallas, Texas, started teaching at WPI this semester, focusing his research on large-scale systems security and digital forensics. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the department of electrical engineering and computer science at Pennsylvania State University, where he worked with Professor Patrick McDaniel, and attended the School of Computer Science at UMass Amherst, where he was advised by Professor Brian Levine. 

Walls says cybersecurity has been an issue for as long as computers have been networked together, and has gained in prominence over the past two decades as the type of data being stored has grown.

Now, personal data and identification, medical records, court records, government data, intellectual property, and all kinds of other information can be stored on computers, raising the stakes on security.

“Our job is to protect the systems,” Walls said.

The day will begin at 9 a.m. in the Rubin Campus Center, with three talks per hour. Each session will be broken into a 12-minute presentation, with four minutes for audience members in small groups to discuss and form questions, and four minutes for a question-and-answer session.

Interested parties can register online for $5.