Florida Tech Team Earns Top-Two Finish in National Science Competition

MELBOURNE, FLA. — A team from Florida Institute of Technology that designed a system involving large-scale emulated computer networks placed second and won $5,000 in the 8th Annual National Security Innovation Competition in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Florida Tech team was from the Harris Institute for Assured Information, and was comprised of graduate student Evan Stoner and undergraduates Troy Toggweiler and Kevin Manzotti. It was guided by Department of Computer Sciences faculty advisor Marco Carvalho, who is also director of the Harris Institute, and research professor Thomas Eskridge.

Their entry was the Virtual Infrastructure for Network Emulation, or VINE. It is an environment that allows researchers and educators to build large-scale emulated computer networks and scenarios for cyber security experimentation and training. VINE supports high-fidelity emulation of several protocol layers, applications, and user behaviors. It recreates the relationship between high-level mission tasks, users, applications, communication, and computation resources, enabling the reconstruction of realistic operational settings, and adaptive attackers. VINE is currently being used in support of a number of research projects at Florida Tech.

“National Homeland Defense Foundation feels confident in the future of our homeland security and defense infrastructure after seeing the types of technologies presented at the competition,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson, president of National Homeland Defense Foundation, which convenes the competition. “These students are the future workforce and are already developing amazing innovations.”

Eight teams were chosen to participate in the competition. The winning team, from University of Rhode Island, presented, “Safe Training Aids for Bomb-Sniffing Dogs.” Other teams came from Colorado Technical University, Indiana University, Saint Louis University, University of Wyoming, and the United States Air Force Academy, which provided two teams.

The competition is designed as a one-of-a-kind venue to link college students conducting cutting-edge research on concepts and technologies intended to meet national security capability needs, with government and industry customers. The NSIC serves as a powerful engine for solving security issues and advancing new concepts and technologies of commercial value.

In choosing winners, judges from the Department of Homeland Security’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, The Aerospace Corporation, DigitalGlobe, Leidos, and NORAD/US Northern Command, focused on four areas: technical analysis; readiness analysis; recommendations for future plans; and presentation skills.

The judges scored after each presentation, then they deliberated for an hour to compare scores and discuss the merits of each team’s presentation and application to homeland security and defense.

“We are extremely proud of not only the quality of submissions, but also the variety of new competitive entries that we are seeing,” said Jason Lippert, vice president of programs for the National Homeland Defense Foundation. “Many of the new NSIC competitor schools that we are seeing – like Florida Institute of Technology with its impressive cyber-related innovation – are developing brilliant advances. These students are the future homeland security and homeland defense workforce and we should all feel safer knowing their technologies will be keeping us safe far into the future.”


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