Computer Science

Colloquium Speaker Dr. Yevgeniy Vorobeychik from Vanderbilt University

Title: Cyber Games

When: March 20th, 2015 at 12pm

Where: 2203 Center for Watershed Sciences

Host: Prof. Matt Bishop


Over the last few years I have been working on game theoretic models ofsecurity, with a particular emphasis on issues salient in cyber security. In this talk I will give an overview of some of this work. I will first spend some time motivating game theoretic treatment of problems relating to cyber and describe some important modeling considerations. In the remainder, I will describe two game theoretic models (one very briefly), and associated solution techniques and analyses. The first is the “optimal attack plan interdiction” problem. In this model, we view a threat formally as a sophisticated planning agent, aiming to achieve a set of goals given some specific initial capabilities and considering a space of possible “attack actions/vectors” that may (or may not) be used towards the desired ends. The defender’s goal in this setting is to “interdict” a select subset of attack vectors by optimally choosing among mitigation options, in order to prevent the attacker from being able to achieve its goals. I will describe the formal model, explain why it is challenging, and present highly scalable decomposition-based integer programming techniques that leverage extensive research into heuristic formal planning in AI. The second model addresses the problem that defense decisions are typically decentralized. I describe a model to study the impact of decentralization, and show that there is a “sweet spot”: for an intermediate number of decision makers, the joint decision is nearly socially optimal, and has the additional benefit of being robust to the changes in the environment.

Finally, I will describe the Secure Design Competition (FIREAXE) that involved two teams of interns during the summer of 2012. The problem that the teams were tasked with was to design a highly stylized version of an electronic voting system. The catch was that after the design phase, each team would attempt to “attack” the other’s design. I will describe some salient aspects of the specification, as well as the outcome of this competition and lessons that we (the designers and the students) learned in the process.


Yevgeniy Vorobeychik is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering and Vanderbilt University. Previously, he was a Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. Between 2008 and 2010 he was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Pennsylvania Computer and Information Science department. He received Ph.D. (2008) and M.S.E. (2004) degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Northwestern University. His work focuses on game theoretic modeling of security, algorithmic and behavioral game theory and incentive design, optimization, complex systems, epidemic control, network economics, and machine learning. Dr. Vorobeychik has published over 70 research articles on these topics. Dr. Vorobeychik was nominated for the 2008 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award and received honorable mention for the 2008 IFAAMAS Distinguished Dissertation Award. In 2012 he was nominated for the Sandia Employee Recognition Award for Technical Excellence. He was also a recipient of a NSF IGERT interdisciplinary research fellowship at the University of Michigan, as well as a distinguished Computer Engineering undergraduate award at Northwestern University.


Center for Watershed Sciences

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