I2S Researcher, Taejoon Kim, Receives Grant to Lead Team in NSF Convergence Accelerator Program

LAWRENCE – The Institute for Information Sciences (I2S) is pleased to announce that Dr. Taejoon Kim, Assistant Professor for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been awarded an NSF Convergence Accelerator grant and will be part of the program’s 2022 Cohort, currently in Phase 1 Track G. The program awards 16 teams from all over the U.S. up to $750,000 to develop innovative technologies addressing particular issues related to 5G network security.  

The primary focus for teams in Track G is: Securely Operating Through 5G Infrastructure. The overarching goal of Track G includes “seeking enhancement to end devices and augmentations to 5G infrastructure, providing capabilities to military, government, and critical infrastructure operators to operate through public 5G networks while meeting security and resilience requirements.” The program is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Convergence Accelerator program, and the Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(RE)).

One of the primary highlights of the program is its emphasis on collaboration between various industries and researchers. Joining Kim, who serves as the primary principal investigator, in the yearlong program are core members Remi Chou (Wichita State University CS, Co-PI), David Love (Purdue ECE, Co-PI), and Sonia Fahmy (Purdue CS, Co-PI).  

Each team has a unique project that addresses the broader aims of the convergence research
Track G. In the case of Kim and his team, the goal is to “Integrate various security approaches at RAN and upper layers of the network stack to enable the concurrent multi-mission operation and dynamic mode switch for an overall improved level of trust.” With the focus being placed on DoD operations, which often involve multiple campaigns occurring simultaneously, Kim’s team seeks to provide a 5G (and beyond) infrastructure that is secure and resilient while also allowing for multiple operations to take place.

Broadly, Kim explains that the need to develop network security capabilities is imperative given how much society relies on wireless access:

“Societies throughout the world now depend on reliable and high-rate wireless access. This dependence has spawned significant economic development, enhanced the spread of information, and generally improved lives around the world. Our research that is aimed to provide advanced security technologies represent a steppingstone for future 6G networks, not only enhancing DoD capabilities but also enabling countless socioeconomic benefits.”

What will this mean for KU and its students? Kim hopes that the “results will be integrated with undergraduate- and graduate-level course offerings. Additionally, the project will also contribute to workforce development by creating research experiences, involving both theory and experiments, for a diverse team of both undergraduate and graduate students.” 

Further, the project is committed “to broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in a manner that is synergistic with the proposed research efforts. The PIs will recruit students from underrepresented groups through our existing K-12 outreach programs and undergraduate research programs by leveraging the 5G security research.”

To learn more about the program and the rest of the teams involved, visit the NSF Convergence Accelerator program site.