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Software & Security research at Newcastle University

We keep a keen eye on the research and teaching activities carried out in Newcastle University, which is home to active research communities such as the Centre for Cybercrime and Security (CSS) and the Concurrent Asynchronous Systems research group.

Centre for Cybercrime and Security

The researchers at the Center for Cybercrime & Security work to develop new security techniques and tools for protecting website and web-based applications from being exploited by hackers, fraudsters or computers masquerading as users. The centre’s work is exciting because of the way they combine deep technical knowledge with user-friendly design and architecture.

Of particular interest is the Intrusion Tolerance functionality developed by Paul Ezhilchelvan and Dylan Clarke. Their approach, termed as FORTRESS involves “fortifying a fault-tolerant service using proxies that block clients from accessing servers directly, and periodically refreshing proxies and servers with diverse executables generated using code randomization”. These features make it difficult for an attacker to compromise a server when no proxy has been compromised.

Similarly, Nick Cook’s non-repudiation software that safeguards electronic transactions is relevant to Annadale Technologies’ development of dynamic web applications to facilitate ultra-high volumes of transactions. The importance of such offerings is clear in the area of payments processing and the protection of sensitive data within a network.

Concurrent Asynchronous Systems research group

Another one of the (many) areas of research carried out at Newcastle that is of interest to software companies developing large scale mission-critical web applications is the Concurrent Asynchronous Systems research group.

This group of researchers focuses on the “development and application of formal methods to modelling and reasoning about concurrent asynchronous systems”, in particular the theory and applications of Petri nets. We in Annadale Technologies are interested in applying some of the findings of such research to our own system design, and building on it within our internal research and development function.

The Concurrent Asynchronous Systems group will host the ACSD (Application of Concurrency to System Design) and CONCUR fora in September 2012.