In Networked and Secure Systems (NSS) we examine security not just as a topic in its own right, but within networked systems. We are constantly on the lookout for scalability. How can we develop complex, networked systems so that they can be used safely by many people at the same time? This is what NSS is all about.
Networked and Secure Systems, the name of our research group, expresses exactly where our expertise lies - at the intersection of these two domains. We are not concerned with security and networked systems per se, but rather with the question: How can you ensure that these networked systems interact with one another securely?
Safe online banking, bitcoins, privacy... computer security is a hot topic. And in an Internet of Things reality, networked systems are also omnipresent. There are numerous research groups worldwide that are working on these topics, but what makes us unique is the fact that we combine them. Other researchers with a strong focus on networked systems try to innovate within their domain, but pay little attention to the security of new developments or applications, while research groups specialising in computer security investigate that field in depth without considering matters such as the impact of security on performance or scalability. We always try to innovate in both domains at the same time. We look for innovative solutions that are both secure and networked to complex challenges in a wide range of areas. From the biomedical sector and the entertainment industry to government institutions, ultimately everyone benefits from technological innovation on both fronts.
Scalability is always an important factor in our research. The systems we develop must always be usable by a large number of people at the same time, or capable of exchanging immense volumes of data. The digital entertainment platform Wanagogo, which we co-developed for Studio 100, needed to be fully operational at all times - even right after school hours when thousands of children typically go online at the same time. This same scalability is always a consideration in the systems we help build for Barco, too. These usually involve medical images - huge data files that need to be shared over the Internet as quickly and accurately as possible with doctors and other medical professionals.
We like to respond to current needs from industry and use these to come up with innovative solutions for practical problems. Our close ties with practical realities really are integral to EDM. We will of course always remain an academic research group, but rather than being concerned with pure product development, our research is particularly application-oriented. We don’t just devise new algorithms, but build innovative systems - proof-of-concepts in the form of implementations. We usually also thoroughly test these applications - along with our colleagues from Intelligible Interactive Systems - for user-friendliness.
Today’s society is unimaginable without technology: everyone comes into contact with it. Safety and security will always be an aspect that requires attention, and computer systems are becoming ever more complex and connected. Our research expertise is therefore relevant for every industry. In the past we have completed numerous great projects for the media and entertainment industry, but we can also easily translate the expertise we have built up there to other industries. The concrete application domains may be different, but the underlying research questions actually differ much less from each other.
Having been part of Flanders Make for several years now, we are also focusing on challenges in the manufacturing industry. There too, our expertise can make a difference: just think of all the sensor-driven applications that are used in this sector, and the networks that are linked to them. Where is each product located, within a factory, at any given time? How can we securely visualise these internal logistics flows? These are questions for which our expertise can be relevant.
In many research projects we get the opportunity to combine different areas of expertise within EDM. We may focus on separate areas of research, but we never approach these different areas from separate boxes. Within the NSS group we have already been able to carry out fantastic projects with colleagues from Intelligible Interactive Systems, Visual Computing and Computational Science. I believe there is great strength in this mutual cooperation. When we join forces we can do more - of this we are convinced. By bringing our different areas of expertise together in very concrete projects, we strengthen each other and create added value, both for ourselves and for our project partners.