The mission of the Security and Software Engineering Research Center is to conduct a program of applied and basic research on software security, system security, and software engineering problems in order to enable technology gains in member organizations.
In 1976, the National Science Foundation established an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) Program to encourage more collaborative endeavors between academia and industry. Our IUCRC, now in its 26th year of operation, is one of over 100 IUCRCs established by NSF, and the only center devoted to software engineering. In 2004, the original Software Engineering Research Center (SERC) graduated from the IUCRC Program and became a self-sustaining research center. As our research focus evolved to place greater emphasis on software and system security, NSF invited SERC to propose a new IUCRC. In February 2010, the SERC -- housed at Ball State University -- combined research strengths with the Center for Information Protection (CIP) -- also an IUCRC, housed at Iowa State University -- and the new Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S²ERC) was born. S²ERC continues to grow and evolve: In July 2011, Virginia Tech, with its focus on the research challenges of cyber security, became our third NSF-funded site.
Research in S2ERC
Industry/university collaboration powerfully improves the software process and product and is designed to benefit everyone involved. Affiliated companies and government agencies gain access to innovative research that is often stratified outside areas they normally support. At biannual showcase meetings, affiliates review proposed and current projects and appoint their research dollars to the projects that address technical needs in their companies. At any time affiliates may request research proposals addressing a particular problem, and researchers who wish to tackle the problem present their responses at the next showcase so that the affiliate can decide which project to pursue. Researchers benefit from participation in S²ERC, gaining access to real-world data and experienced practitioners who can validate their models and guide their research, not to mention long-term, stable funding. By definition, S²ERC strives to cultivate industry/university dialogue throughout the technology transfer. Customized security and software engineering research projects are thus the norm. A list of current projects is available here.
Who Is S2ERC?
S²ERC researchers are faculty and students from CS, EE, Industrial Engineering, Management, Mathematics, and Systems Engineering programs at thirteen different universities, including three primary sites: Ball State University (lead institution), Iowa State University, and Virginia Tech. S²ERC attracts high-energy, creative researchers who represent the best in their field. Our researchers are national research prize winners, NSF Career Award winners, patent holders, chairpersons or co-chairpersons of major software conferences, and editors of major publications in software engineering. Some of the S²ERC's most successful projects are in the areas of design metrics, testing, process modeling, security, and maintenance; but when a need in a specific field or area arises, S²ERC consistently draws in viable and respected researchers from around the country and globe to address that need. Our affiliated companies and government agencies are diverse, stratified across fields such as national military, defense, and space programs; military contractors; communication and information industries; equipment manufacture; health insurance; electricity/electronics; software development; and law. S²ERC is growing and has gained many new members recently but also continues to serve companies we've worked with for more than 20 years.