News Release

Yao working to secure the supply chain of large language models as software

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Yao Working To Secure The Supply Chain Of Large Language Models As Software  

Ziyu Yao, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, received $49,997 from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority for the project: "Securing the Supply Chain of Large Language Models as Software with Explainable AI and Humans in the Loop." The project will focus on the emerging vulnerabilities with large language models, or LLMs, when they are increasingly used as software to support various applications. In the scope of "software supply chain," researchers are particularly interested in the security concerns around the supplies of "prompts" to LLMs. The project seeks to explore both the attack and the defense strategies, including the use of explainable AI and humans in the loop approaches. This funding began in Jan. 2024 and will end in Jan. 2025. The project is in collaboration with co-PI Prof. Xiaokuan Zhang, an Assistant Professor in Computer Science. 



George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 40,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2023, the university launched Mason Now: Power the Possible, a one-billion-dollar comprehensive campaign to support student success, research, innovation, community, and stewardship. Learn more at

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