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Computer and Information Science professor Insup Lee has received $6 million to improve the “Internet of Things.”

The “Internet of Things,” or IoT, refers to all of the information that is stored on the internet — from smart cars to social media to medical information. However, advanced computing has brought about a new problem: maintaining the security of the abundance of “things” and big data. As a result, the National Science Foundation, along with Intel Corp., has provided a research grant in order to improve the safety-critical domains within the IoT, often referred to as “cyber-physical systems,” or CPS.

Lee, along with his team, is working on securing the usage and transmittance of data within medical devices. This is a particularly big concern given the high amount of private information that is stored within these medical systems. Lee’s research looks into how we can share this data without compromising the identities and personal information of CPS users.

Currently, Lee and his team are working on a project called Smart Alarm, a device targeted towards reconciling the abundance of regulatory devices in hospitals that monitor everything from heart rate to vital signs. He noted that many of the devices often give faulty warnings, which lead nurses and physicians to start ignoring the alarms. This endangers patients as clinicians may not be aware when the alarms are truly signaling a pressing problem. Lee’s Smart Alarm project uses a type of machine learning to dismiss faulty alarms in order to improve the accuracy of the devices.

Lee has put together a specialized team to tackle the problem from technological, social and legal approaches. Some of the main collaborators on this project include Penn professor C. William Hanson, Sociology professor Ross Koppel and Penn Law professor Chris Yoo.

Lee said that he hopes this application will become more helpful to the medical field and to online security in general. He said that they hope to create “a platform where [the use of CPS] will be secure ... [one] where you can connect medical devices to a system that ensures it is secure.”

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