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Active Research Projects

All of the following are currently active InSPiRe lab research projects.

Security Related Research Projects

(A) Peer-to-Peer Network Detection


  • 1 Open Funded M.A.Sc. Position


The focus of this research project is to develop methodologies for detection the existence of peer-to-peer networks operating within the context of public or privately run enterprise-scale IT networks. The goal is to use network traffic characterization approaches to develop detection solution which are robust to the on-going work within the peer-to-peer community to make their networks hard to detect. Of particular interest in this research is the detection of peer-to-peer networks which are being used to disseminate illegal materials and, hence, the detection of peer-to-peer networks in which there is an increased incentive to make them difficult to detect.


  • Academic: Bill Aiello (UBC - in an advisory capacity)
  • Public: an unnamed large public organization
  • Private: -

Funding: unnamed public organization

(B) Malware Classification


  • Mohamed El Gamal (Ph.D. Student)
  • 1 Open Funded M.A.Sc. Position


The goal of this research project is to develop techniques which allow malware, including novel malware, to be accurately classified, both in terms of the separation of malware from non-malware as well as the intraset malware classification. Part of this work is also focused on identifying pattern classification features which are robust to attacker adaptations.


  • Academic: John McHugh (Dalhousie)
  • Public: an unnamed large public organization
  • Private: an unnamed private organization

Funding: unnamed public organization, unnamed private company, MITACS

(C) Attacker/Defender Ecosystem Simulation


  • Caner Budakoglu (Ph.D. Student)
  • Eamon Millman (M.A.Sc. Student)


This work focuses on assessing the feasibility of using game theoretic approaches and, particularly those of evolutionary game theory combined with A.I. approaches, to gain insights into the overall structure of attacker/defender ecosystems, (i.e., under reasonable assumptions about the nature of the ''environment'' can game theory be used to develop useful ''predictions'' about how rational intelligent attackers and defenders will/should act).

Collaborations: -


Distributed Systems Related Projects:

(A) Development of an Enterprise-scale Distributed Systems Test Bed (split as 5 subprojects)


  • Fiona Warman (M.A.Sc. Student)
  • Chris Mueller (M.A.Sc. Student)
  • 3 Open Funded M.A.Sc. Positions


The focus of this $250k+ project is to develop the existing $500k+ of InSPiRe lab equipment into a fully functional enterprise-scale distributed systems test bed which can be used to assess the capacity and performance breakpoints of real-world distributed software systems in an environment which supports the full tenets of experimental control and repeatability. Part of the goal of this work is to develop the InSPiRe lab into a cost-effective collaborative platform for addressing and exploring both academic and industrial concerns with respect to the engineering of enterprise-scale distributed software systems.


  • Academic: -
  • Public: -
  • Private: unnamed private organization

Funding: unnamed private organization, NSERC, MITACS

Infrastructure Development Projects:

(A) Development of Test Bed facility Control and Management Software


  • Derek Church, M.Sc. (Software Developer)


The focus of this project is to perform the software and systems engineering tasks required to develop the InSPiRe facility's control and management software to bring the facility to a level of automation and control required to support: (a) the full at-scale testing of arbitrary enterprise-scale distributed systems, while (b) meeting the full repeatability and control tenet required for experiment-based scientific research.

In particular, the test bed must meet the requirements of being: (a) general purpose, both in terms of the distributed IT systems supported and the scope of tests that can be undertaken, (b) automatically configurable, (i.e., permit on-demand "mirroring-in" of full distributed systems and the requisite test configurations), (c) able to support the exact "re-running" of experiments, down to the level of system OSes, OS patches, network traffic characteristics, etc., sufficient to meet the repeatability tenets of experiment-based science, (d) completely isolated in a network sense to ensure zero potential "contamination" of experiments, (e) have sufficient instrumentation "hooks" such that the capacity/performance of distributed IT systems under test can be measured with the minimum of custom configuration/intervention, (f) able to "sweep" through workloads and workload characteristics in a controlled manner to allow an automated approach to the identification of capacity/performance breakpoint boundaries, (g) able to support the optimization of "tunable" distributed IT system parameters under given workloads, and (h) able to consistently and accurately log all generated test information in a consistent format for post-experiment analyses. Various aspects required to meet the above conditions are outside of the scope of graduate research positions. These aspects are those that are within scope for this position.


  • None

Funding: CFI, NSERC


If you are interested in pursuing a research project not listed here that would involve the InSPiRe research facilities please contact Dr. Neville.

2003 - 2012 Information Security and Privacy Research (InSPiRe) Laboratory, University of Victoria

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