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Engineering Students, Faculty Represent UK at SEC Academic Conference

Six University of Kentucky College of Engineering students represented the Big Blue Nation at the 2018 SEC Academic Conference at Auburn University April 7-9, 2018.

The conference involved teams from various SEC universities competing hack-a-thon style to formulate a solution for a real-world cybersecurity issue. At the end of the challenge, teams gave 10-minute presentations of their solutions to a panel of cybersecurity professionals.

UK’s team for the Student Cyber challenge consisted of six students: Malik Conner, Benjamin Kistler, Carson Labrado, Rajdeep Kumar Nath, Usman Rafique, and Dinesh Selvakumaran. Conner and Kistler are undergraduate students, with majors in computer science and computer engineering, respectively. The rest are Ph.D. students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Faculty advisors included Blazie Professor of Electrical Engineering Samson Cheung and assistant professor and Endowed Robley D. Evans Faculty Fellow Himanshu Thapliyal.

Labrado and Kumar presented a poster on a solution titled “Energy Harvesting Based PUFs for Cybersecurity in loT and Vehicles.” Rafique’s presentation was titled “Hacking Virtual Reality Systems.” The students made an excellent impression, and received high praise from many of the judges for the advanced nature of their project. Several of the judges even recommended that the students file a patent for their work.

Cheung, who also participated on the conference’s planning committee, spoke highly of the students’ performance.

“Our students have done a phenomenal job presenting their work and coming up with a good solution for the challenge. I have talked with the judges of the challenge and they thought that our solution is one of the most advanced and theoretically sound,” said Cheung.

Currently, the college is developing a cybersecurity certificate program, which will afford more opportunities to students desiring further experience in this field.