The Collaboration Network for Excellent Education and Research in Dependable and Secure Distributed Systems (CREDENCE) aims to develop and expand existing collaborations in research and higher education between several partners from Brazil, Canada, the USA, and Norway. The partnership includes research focused on both technical and socio-technical aspects of dependable and secure computer systems, with particular emphasis on technologies such as blockchain.
Specific activities include organization of workshops and summer schools, development of new and improved curriculum for advanced courses in cutting-edge technologies, research collaboration on master thesis projects, joint supervision of graduate students, as well as personnel mobility for both research and education.
This partnership will enable the research groups at UiS and UiO to improve the quality and efficiency of our research and researcher training both at the master and PhD levels. Moreover, the CREDENCE partnership will enable an institutionalized collaboration beyond existing personal connections, which will facilitate improved quality and volume of research and education output.
During the project period, several short stays were conducted by the project partners as well as a four-day workshop. The workshop was held in Stavanger in August 2019 with participants from all project partners. This included presentations, parallel poster sessions, as well as break-out sessions for the students where they presented collaborative projects while the faculty participants provided comments and input. Topics primarily were on dependable and secure computing. During the workshop, consortium leaders conducted a project meeting, mapping out the activities for the next year, in particular, planning of the summer school 2020 and mobility exchanges.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, many of the planned activities for 2020 and 2021 were postponed until 2022. In 2021, we developed course material in the form of high-quality video lectures to replace some of the planned mobility exchanges. We conducted several mobility exchanges in 2022. We ended up canceling the planned summer school in New York City due to lackluster interest in the collaboration network after two exhausting years. As a partial replacement, we have continued developing research and teaching tools, course material, and exercises.
The partnership included:
University of Stavanger, Norway
University of Oslo, Norway
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil
McGill University, Canada
L'École de Technologie Supérieure, Canada
Cornell University, USA
University of Maryland, College Park, USA
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
University of California, Irvine, USA
The project partner at University of California, Irvine has developed course material for use within Credence. UiS and UiO continue developing their respective blockchain courses, sharing course material and incorporating new research from this rapidly evolving field. Both UiO and UiS have recorded the lectures in distributed systems. UiO is planning to introduce distributed system education at the undergraduate level. UiS is currently developing a new course on cloud computing. UiS has developed the QuickFeed course management tool for near-immediate feedback to students on their programming assignments. UiO has produced a hands-on tutorial for smart contract development and published it on YouTube.
Additionally, the Cascade system was jointly developed by Cornell and UiO, with a list of joint publications, student projects, mobility, etc. UiS has developed a toolbox for research on Byzantine fault-tolerant protocols that are being used both within Credence and by other researchers.
Our collaboration network includes renowned academic partners from Brazil, Canada and the US, with female PIs from 50% of the partner institutions. The project is aligned with Brazil's strategy for research in security and dependability. It is poised to serve as an important catalyst for Brazil's efforts in this direction. The proposal encompasses institutionalized collaboration with partners such as McGill (Canada) and Cornell (US), known for their excellence in research and education.
While the consortium is primarily technological, some PIs specialize in socio-technical systems. Thus, the project serves as a bridge between technology and social sciences.
The collaboration will strengthen the research projects and strategic initiatives at both UiS and UiO by technologically advancing design and validation of security- and reliability-critical distributed systems such as smart homes and cities, cloud computing, smart energy and cryptocurrency systems. The partners have collaborated in the past on individual research activities. The partnership, if funded, will allow us to build a systematic and institutionalized collaborative network, and will bolster the quality of research and education in the associated projects. Activities planned:
(a) workshop and summer school,
(b) mutual research visits, including by PhD students,
(c) development of courses and tutorials, and
(d) joint research collaboration, resulting in publications involving PhD students.
In terms of education, the partnership will enhance the curricula in dependable distributed systems at each partner institution by means of complementary expertise, mutual guest lectures, student mobility, joint student projects and remote lecturing. Several PIs got best teaching awards. In terms of research, mobility, joint projects and joint supervision of graduate students will give a boost in quality, beyond what is currently attainable through the existing projects.