News Release

Cummings receives funding for project focused on synthesizing temporal logic & human performance models for deception mitigation

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Mary L. Cummings, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer, Computer Science, received funding for the project: "Synthesizing temporal logic and human performance models for deception mitigation."

Deception is a key element in attacks on military and civilian cyber-physical systems. With increasing use of automation and autonomy in such systems, such vulnerabilities to deception are growing, with catastrophic outcomes, as evidenced by recent major breaches in cybersecurity across the U.S. Department of Defense. 

There is a pressing need to understand long-term adversarial strategies where one hostile action is largely harmless and subtle, but multiple actions over long periods of time comprise a successful attack. 

To this end, Cummings and her collaborators are developing domain-agnostic deception models that blend temporal logic specifications with probabilistic models of human attention over a long period of time that explore multiple episodes of interactions between one or more humans and an adversary. 

The resulting validated deception models will be used to develop mitigation and counter-deception strategies, specifically to determine whether and how to best detect and possibly defend against such deceptive attacks. 

In addition, the researchers are exploring the development of visualizations and other cognitive assistance tools to help humans detect possible abnormalities in their workflow, so that they can potentially intervene sooner than they otherwise would, if at all.

Cummings will receive total funding of $1.6 million from the Office of Naval Research for this project. Funding began in July 2023 and will end in late Sept. 2028.

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About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at http://www.gmu.edu.


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