College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ECpE professor wins young investigator award to combat network threats

Ames, Iowa – Lei Ying, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Iowa State University, recently was awarded1bd7821680 the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Young Investigator Award. DTRA is a part of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Strategic Command, which is the intellectual, technical, and operational leader in the national effort to combat the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat. The organization gave approximately 15 Young Investigator Awards to researchers from various science and engineering fields. Ying will receive $100,000 a year for two years to support his research.

For this project, Ying will study network robustness and performance limits when facing a severe loss of network knowledge.

“My research focuses on communication networks such as the Internet, cellular networks, and other wireless networks,” Ying says. “The objective of this project is to develop robust network protocols that can reliably and rapidly disseminate critical information in the face of WMD stressors such as widely distributed failures of electronics from nuclear electromagnetic pulse or the long-term denial of network elements or segments due to WMD contamination.”

Ying’s work will advance the theoretical understanding and methods necessary to improve network robustness. His approach goes beyond the classic network robustness and addresses a new and fundamental aspect of network survivability and recoverability under attacks.

“The success of this project will contribute to Department of Defense capabilities by providing a basic understanding for preserving essential military communication capacity under network outages,” Ying says.

Ying’s research also will advance the state-of-the-art of designing robust complex networks where complete network knowledge is rarely obtainable.

Lei Ying, assistant professor, (515) 294-5353,
Dana McCullough, communications specialist, (319) 377-9830, ext. 317,