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ODU Professor Wins Prestigious NSF Award

By Sherry DiBari

Cong Wang, assistant professor in Old Dominion University's Department of Computer Science and Center of Cybersecurity Education and Research, received the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program award for his work on edge computing.

The five-year award comes with $470,000 in funding to support the research titled "Memory-Efficient, Heterogeneity-Aware and Robust Architecture for Federated Intelligence on Edge Devices."

"This award is important to me as a recognition of my research in the areas of computing and security," Wang said. "It recognizes the efforts and support from the cybersecurity center and computer science department to promote interdisciplinary research and education."

The CAREER program supports "early career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization."

"Since Cong joined ODU in 2017 as part of a cybersecurity cluster hiring, he has developed an active and nationally recognized research program as evidenced by his publications in high-profile conferences. He has also secured multiple competitive NSF grants," said Hongyi (Michael) Wu, Batten Chair of Cybersecurity and the director of the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research at Old Dominion University.

Wang's research concentrates on the "privacy-utility conflict."

"On one hand, enterprises want to collect all kinds of data from us and utilize our personal data to improve their products. On the other hand, we worry about our privacy and what can be inferred from the data," Wang said.

"This research attempts to address this challenge by developing a novel learning framework on consumer's edge devices, so personal data does not need to leave the device."

Edge devices provide an entry point into enterprise or service-provider core networks. Examples include routers, routing switches, integrated access devices, multiplexers, and a variety of metropolitan area network and wide-area network access devices. Edge devices also provide connections into carrier and service-provider networks.

"Moving computations from the cloud toward the internet edge and mobile devices has been a dominating trend recently," Wang said. "It has been accelerated by the global pandemic since everyone is working from home."

Wang will collaborate with Amazon Lab 126 to explore new use cases for the research and with the University of Delaware on system designs.

He holds a doctorate from Stony Brook University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a bachelor's in information engineering from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a master's in electrical engineering from Columbia University.

In 2020, Wang received the COVA-CCI Cybersecurity Research and Innovation Award and the ODU Cheng Fund for Innovative Research.


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