Research Areas

Disaster Tolerance

Recent events such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the 911 event, the attack on the USS Cole, and the Northeast U.S. blackout have demonstrated our vulnerability to disasters and our need to find methods that provide some degree of tolerance for large cyberspace systems in the presence of disasters. Disaster Tolerance in computing and communications systems refers to the ability of infrastructure, software, IT systems, communications infrastructure and business or organizational processes that depend on these systems, to maintain functionality throughout the occurrence of a disaster. The goal of Disaster Tolerance is to provide an ability to continue uninterrupted operations, despite the occurrence of a disaster that would normally interrupt organizational operations; where critical business functions and technologies continue operations, as opposed to resuming them.


Hardware Security and Electronic Design Automation

The mission of the Hardware Security and Electronic Design Automation laboratory is to create and design new techniques for the capture of system specifications and to automatically synthesize, verify, and test the resulting system. Our laboratory personnel work on projects related to conventional electronic and emerging quantum and nano-based systems. An emphasis on the application of fundamental knowledge in discrete mathematics, algorithms, and system design principles is the underlying philosophy behind research projects.


Cyber Security

The mission of the Cyber Security Lab is to nurture education, research and development of security technologies for systems ranging from the physical layer to the application layer. In that spirit, our projects range from border and transportation security to application layer security against phishing attacks. Over the past 10 years, research in the Cyber Security Lab has provided the basis for Security Engineering curriculum in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at SMU's Lyle School of Engineering.


Security Economics

Economics puts the challenges facing information security into perspective better than a purely technical approach does. Systems often fail because the organizations that defend them do not bear the full costs of failure. In order to solve the problems of growing vulnerability and increasing crime, solutions must coherently allocate responsibilities and liabilities so that the parties in a position to fix problems have an incentive to do so. This requires a technical comprehension of security threats combined with an economic perspective to uncover the strategies employed by attackers and defenders.

The security economics lab conducts research measuring various forms cybercrime in order to improve our understanding of how attackers and defenders behave. We emphasize empirical analysis of security incidents that can be directly observed, driven by the belief that security failures must be studied from the concrete, not the hypothetical. We also attempt to quantify the costs and benefits of security mechanisms where possible.

We collaborate with researchers at institutions across the US and internationally, including Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State, the University of New Mexico, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Münster. For more information and publications, see