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UNB provides expertise to secure AIs and protect public sector accountability

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Oct 1, 2020

Category: UNB Fredericton

Dr. Arash Habibi Lashkari

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick’s Cybersecurity Institute of Canada (CIC) will support more reliable and secure auditing programs through a new collaborative research agreement.

The CIC, a leading research facility located on UNB’s Fredericton campus, has partnered with SageTea Software to support the development of secure artificial intelligence solutions which will provide the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF) with first-of-its-kind root cause analysis capabilities using deep learning techniques. The project is supported by a three-year grant from the Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity Research Fund, created by Lockheed Martin Aero to support UNB’s applied cybersecurity research.

The research team will be led by Dr. Arash Habibi Lashkari, assistant professor in the faculty of computer science and research director of the CIC.

“AI systems are used to solve critical and complex problems, and it is crucial to secure these systems against factors that can cause direct or indirect performance issues,” said Dr. Lashkari. “Our task is to create a suit of armour for these AIs against related attacks, which can cause complex systems to behave in unintended ways or identify incorrect solutions.”

Through this collaborative research agreement, UNB’s expertise will support SageTea’s research and development activities, providing the company with access to extensive specialist knowledge and novel research by the team.

The CAAF, also a partner in this project, will use the resulting knowledge and solution to help its members improve their ability to support analysis and accountability in the public sector.

“Artificial intelligence and root cause analysis are at the heart of our research program. The potential synergy between these two pillars of data analytics presents a number of exciting possibilities for public sector analysts and auditors. We look forward to collaborating with the University of New Brunswick and SageTea Software to explore these new tools,” said Yves Genest, Vice-President, Products and Services, of Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation.

With the agreement in place, Dr. Lashkari will be assembling and leading a team that will include graduate students at the master’s and doctoral level as well as undergraduate co-op students. This team will provide hands-on learning and research opportunities for scholars at the beginning of their careers. Most of CIC’s projects are built with this mentorship model, reflecting the Institute’s, and UNB’s, commitment to engaging and relevant student experiences that will propel them into future research and employment.

Media contact: Jeremy Elder-Jubelin

Photo: Dr. Arash Lashkari. Credit: Rob Blanchard/UNB