New U of A Research Center Focuses on Security Across Disciplines

Laura Fickett

The Arkansas Security Research and Education Institute (ASCENT), a new center at the University of Arkansas, will focus on spreading security expertise across several different fields. ASCENT is now officially approved by Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

It is easier than ever to take advantage of digital technology. Smart devices, the cloud and big data processing techniques provide new opportunities for businesses, governments and other organizations. These new tools all come with additional security risks, however.

A key component of the center will be efforts to cross-train students to be proficient not just in one area of expertise but across multiple areas such as combinations of cyber security, computer engineering, molecular microbiology, etc. This multifaceted educational emphasis will provide the next generation of well-trained security workforce for industry and government institutions.

Researchers at ASCENT will specifically focus on four areas, and they plan to connect researchers and industry partners in these areas in order to develop security solutions. In the area of cybersecurity, the center takes advantage of the expertise of the U of A's cyber talent and local industry. In the transportation area, the institute is exploring ways to make supply chain logistics more efficient, while protecting the proprietary information of companies involved. The critical infrastructure area focuses on the digital infrastructure underlying the services we use every day, such as banks, power systems and the internet. This area also looks at future security risks associated with the emerging Internet of Things. Finally, ASCENT plans to focus on our food supply and water supply, finding ways to make sure these remain safe and plentiful.

The director of ASCENT is Jia Di, professor of computer science and computer engineering and holder of the Twenty-First Century Research Leadership Chair. The three co-directors are Chase Rainwater, associate professor of industrial engineering, Dale Thompson, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering, and Steve Ricke, director of the Center for Food Safety of the University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture and a faculty member of the Department of Food Science.


Camilla Shumaker, director of communications
College of Engineering


Three Walton Students Awarded Fleischer Scholarships

Hailye Williams, Alyssa Bradford and Madison Holmes have been awarded $10,000 scholarships, renewable for four years, to attend the Walton College through the Fleischer Scholars Program.

Ag Education's Shoulders a Chronicle of Higher Education 'Teaching Innovator'

Kate Shoulders uses video critiques of graduate projects to give students one-on-one recordings of her impressions and thought process.

Women's Giving Circle Celebrates Grant Awardees and Scholarship Recipients

At annual fall event, $100,000 was awarded to seven U of A programs, and a $25,000 Advance Arkansas scholarship gift was announced.

United We Win Enters Final Weeks of Campaign with Social Media Drive

$1United 24 hour drive starts 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24. -- and there's still time  to turn in donor cards or make an online contribution;

Conway Project Wins LafargeHolcim Acknowledgement Award

The U of A Community Design Center and Office for Sustainability collaborated on urban watershed framework plan.

Newswire Daily