Enabling Intelligent Security Assessment for HPC Systems via Automated Learning and Data Analytics

Period of Performance: 02/21/2017 - 11/20/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Intelligent Automation, Inc.
15400 Calhoun Dr, Suite 190
Rockville, MD 20855
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Software protection and its associated tools can be regarded as a first line of defense for run-time integrity in an HPC system, but cannot be easily extended to provide security solution beyond the software level. Hence, it is also essential to build a system- wide security analysis tool to assess the entire HPC system’s security. By revealing the risks the system has to an adversary, and improving the ability to detect suspicious activity already occurring, one can take preemptive action to limit the damage cost by cyber attacks. The major challenges of building such a tool are how to provide efficient data processing, customized feature extraction and balancing between security and overhead specifically for HPC systems. General Statement of How this Problem or Situation is Being Addressed: To address this critical need, Intelligent Automation Inc. (IAI) proposes to develop a data analytics based system-wide security assessment tool for HPC systems to ensure system-wide security monitoring and assessment. The overall project approach is to leverage existing/future HPC profiling and tracing tools to provide real-time data collection and then use this information combined with HPC user/program behavioral knowledge, system logs and network traffic data for cyber security assessment. Because the proposed work uses passive data collection and leverages existing HPC profiling and tracing tools, it requires minimum extra monitoring tools to be installed on HPC systems. What is to be Done in Phase I: To meet the project objectives, we will perform the following: (1) design the security assessment system architecture and workflow; (2) design and initial development of core functional modules; and (3) build a proof-of concept prototype for demonstration and performance evaluation. We will also initiate conversations with multiple potential commercial partners including customers, market leaders, key suppliers, and critical sales and distribution channels to pursue successful commercialization for the proposed technology. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: We envision that the proposed techniques, tools and software have a significant impact on the cyber security enhancement for HPC systems. In addition to the security enhancement, the result of this SBIR effort can be can be applied to and benefit a broad range of HPC centers and Large-Scale Distributed Computer Systems in industry (such as IT, various science applications, finance/economics, etc.), university/academic, and government agencies (such as defense and government labs). IAI is well positioned to promote the introduction of the proposed techniques and software tools into a wide variety of commercial and military applications.