Rick Blum Guest Lectures at UC San Diego as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer

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Professor Rick Blum (center) (Photo courtesy Lehigh University).

Dr. Rick Blum, I-CPIE faculty and Robert W. Wieseman Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering traveled to Southern California in late September to guest lecture at the University of California, San Diego. Blum’s talk was part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Distinguished Lecturer Program. The program is meant to provide chapters of the IEEE Signal Processing Society access to well-known educators and authors in the fields of signal processing.

As the director of Lehigh’s Signal Processing and Communication Research Lab, Blum is making contributions to the foundational theories of machine learning, statistical decision-making, and cybersecurity. His lecture, Cyber-Attacks on Internet of Things Sensor Systems for Inference, described how to provide tight bounds (with sufficient data) on the performance of the best inference algorithms after attack. In this context, he discussed trying to estimate a parameter after any cyber-attack aimed at degrading the estimation performance. Blum also described low complexity unsupervised learning algorithms that achieve performance very close to these bounds.

This theory can be applied to attacks on object localization algorithms, which are employed in automobiles to avoid hitting pedestrians and other vehicles based on RADAR and other available sensors. Speaking to the relevance of this research, Blum notes that, “given the many tragic instances of terrorists causing harm by driving automobiles into pedestrian spaces, it is urgent that we stop terrorists from remotely causing collisions.” The research indicates that employing a set of diverse sensor resources and smart algorithms has significant potential to identify and mitigate such attacks.

Blum has had a summer full of speaking engagements as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, with talks in Toronto, California (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), several cities in China, Indiana (Purdue University), Ohio (Ohio State University), Paris, Brussels, and Munich. His next talk is scheduled for early November in Israel. He will be discussing cyberattacks on Internet of Things sensor systems for inference with the Israel chapter of the IEEE Signal Processing Society.