IBM Research announced on May 10 that it has partnered with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County to create the Accelerated Cognitive Cybersecurity Laboratory. The multi-year deal will go toward developing a facility focused on the advancement of cognitive computing, cybersecurity and machine learning. 

The laboratory will be housed in the College of Engineering and Information Technology building at UMBC. It is slated to open in the fall of 2016, and research will be conducted on IBM's OpenPower Technology, which is suited for advanced analytics workloads.

"There is a massive amount of security data that exists for human consumption, which cannot be processed by traditional security systems," said J.R. Rao, director of Security Research at IBM. "By exploring the intersection of cybersecurity and cognitive technology, we can leverage that untapped pool of data and evolve the way security professionals and technologies work together to help overcome cyber threats."

As cybersecurity threats grow in sophistication, there is an increasing need for security professionals, as well as tactics to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals. IBM and UMBC will explore new ways to apply cognitive technologies — which digest, learn from and reason structured and unstructured data — to help cybersecurity experts.

"UMBC faculty, and students in the College of Engineering and Information Technology are excited to expand our work on global scientific and cybersecurity challenges in collaboration with world class partners like IBM," said Julie Ross, dean of the UMBC's College of Engineering and Information Technology.

The ACCL will be led by Anupam Joshi, the director of UMBC's Center for Cybersecurity and chair of computer science and electrical engineering. Faculty members, students and software engineers will all be invited to bring their expertise to the lab. UMBC researchers and IBM scientists hope to develop technology that can loop, detect and analyze sophisticated cyber security threats quickly and efficiently.

UMBC is one of eight universities in North America that is working to train IBM Watson for work in the cybersecurity realm. Watson utilizes natural language processing to comprehend vague unstructured data. The hope is that Watson will also be able to provide more evolved insight into emerging threats and recommendations on how to stop them.

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