The Intelligent Software Systems (ISS) group develops energy-efficient technology that makes computer systems faster and more sustainable. Our researchers come from a variety of disciplines, including computer architectures and networking, supercomputing, parallel computing, physics and machine learning. This diversity fosters creativity and spurs the development of ideas that advance the state of the art and enable future advancements for humankind.
Our group’s vision is to create a world in which scientific advancements are not impeded by engineering limitations. In scientific computing and computational sciences, the bottleneck is often the inability to design software that can efficiently implement scientists’ groundbreaking ideas.
Our goal is to enable scientists to write programs that tell computers what to do, not how to do it. To accomplish this we develop technology at the crossroads of domain-specific programming languages, software engineering, compiler and runtime systems for AI and parallel computing.
Domain experts have a limited understanding of platform complexities, and yet their programs are mostly executed as is on target platforms, which results in inefficient use of resources.
NEC is developing technology that will use the domain expert program as a formal computation for intent specification. This will automatically generate an optimized software implementation for the target platform that will extract the best performance from its underlying hardware. Using this approach, experts from different disciplines will be able to make the best use of new hardware advancements (see Figure 1 below).
New software frameworks for accelerated computing
The ISS group build software frameworks that enable scientists to leverage new computer architectures and processors efficiently. We achieve this by combining automated algorithm search-and-selection functions with software synthesis and compiler techniques. In close collaboration with our colleagues working in the larger NEC family, we then apply our results. Examples include accelerated research in personalized medicine for curing cancer and discovering broadly protective beta-coronavirus vaccines.
As our world grows increasingly interconnected, cybersecurity becomes a critical component in ensuring our systems maintain high reliability and integrity.
Advanced security to counter evolving threats
Within the ISS group, we develop advanced system-level techniques to improve the observability of systems and scale monitoring efficiently and sustainably. In parallel, we devise techniques to extract, represent, and assess information about cyber threats from a variety of sources. These sources include cyber threat intelligence, social media and traditional news sources.
Cyber threat intelligence provides millions of text-based reports every month. Security experts need to process each report to understand what is relevant for the systems they monitor. NEC is working to make this process scalable by:
- Enabling semantic search in cyber threat intelligence’s structured and unstructured sources.
- Making it more efficient to observe network and host infrastructure.
This will let security experts quickly extract the cyber threat intelligence they need to monitor their systems (see figure 2 below).
Combining these two approaches yields deep insight into the behavior of the systems we operate. It provides decision support for cybersecurity at scale and enables human operators and artificial systems to work together to defend against cyberattacks.