Strengthening the Digital Infrastructure
In addition to facilitating unprecedented advances in research, computers support day-to-day activities. They fly aircraft, manage the electrical grid, and enable the flow of trillions of dollars that support the global economy. The software for these systems has grown in proportion to the complexity of their functions. Accordingly, much of this software is developed modularly. Computer science professors Jack Davidson and John Knight are part of a $13 million research project, funded through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities and bugs introduced through this process. They are developing automated methods to monitor and analyze the software in its idle state and during execution.
Westley Weimer, assistant professor of computer science, works with a group that is taking cues from biology to help create software that can teach itself how to thwart cyber attacks and recover from them. A $3.2 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funds this program.
U.Va. engineers are also at the forefront of efforts to improve computer hardware. The University partnered with the College of William & Mary and Old Dominion University to launch the Virginia Nanoelectronics Center. The center will explore and develop advanced materials as well as new devices and circuits at nanoscale dimensions, setting the stage for the next generation of microelectronics.
Faculty members are also keen observers of the Internet's effects on daily life. Siva Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor of Media Studies, has published The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry), a critical examination of how Google is reshaping the way we live and work.