From May to June, a team of SUNY Poly students, including one student who attends the University at Buffalo, discovered the real-world value of SUNY Poly’s hands-on education. The team, led by SUNY Poly Assistant Professor and Director of the institution’s Advanced Cybersecurity Research Laboratory (ACRL) Dr. Hisham Kholidy, immersed themselves in the ACRL’s 5G tools, applying what they learned from participating in cybersecurity experiments to specific challenges at the Open Source MANO (OSM) International Hackfest where they finished in second place.

The weeklong, team event focused on the OSM open-source system used at the ACRL to orchestrate the 5G network services at the ACRL lab in Kunsela Hall. The team completed the following tasks:


  • Deployed Magma (AGW and Orchestrator components)
  • Automated adding subscribers to Magma
  • Tested S1AP in an automated way
  • Used Wireshark to capture packets and see call flows for 5G UE/CPE essential registration


On the last day, each of the six competing teams had the opportunity to demonstrate their achievements. The top 3 teams were selected, with SUNY Poly earning the second spot and nearly winning the entire contest.


The team was comprised of SUNY Poly MS student Michael Stein, SUNY Poly BS students Mohammed Abuzamak and Wendell Balbuena, and University at Buffalo BS student Yusuf Elazzazi. Two of the students have been workng with Dr. Kholidy throughout the summer at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on a related 5G security project, and the other two students are currently studying the “independent study” course under Professor Kholidy’s supervision. They have all been participating in hands-on cybersecurity experiments at the ACRL.


“I am exceedingly proud of our team’s efforts leading to our taking second place in this international Hackfest,” said Dr. Kholidy. “We were thrilled to see the culmination of our efforts result in success. Our real-time lab (ACRL) running the same software and tools, with lab equipment supported by SUNY Poly’s College of Engineering Dean Michael Carpenter, contributed to our strong finish. We also worked as a team before the contest through the AFRL Visiting Faculty Research Award (VFRA) that I received earlier this summer, which supports two of our SUNY Poly students. The team also worked on a research paper based on the OSM testbed in collaboration with our AFRL consultants, which will be submitted to the 5G World Forum by the end of July, all of which enabled this accomplishment.”


View the SUNY Poly team presentation


Following participation in the Hackfest, SUNY Poly has been invited to join the OSM Community, which is focused on developing an Open Source Management and Orchestration (MANO) software stack that supports different research topics such as 5G, IoT, cloud computing, high-performance computing, and edge computing environments. The OSM community involves industry leaders, academic institutes, developers, and researchers. This will not only offer research collaboration opportunities for SUNY Poly faculty, but the OSM community also provides an excellent environment for students’ capstone projects and graduate projects.


More about SUNY Poly’s ACRL and Student Opportunities
ACRL research work focuses on cyber-security, machine learning, and autonomic computing approaches. Most of this work is applied to cloud computing, SCADA, and 5G systems. These efforts seek to enhance cyber-security and protect information in the IT industry and in regard to the latest technologies like cloud computing, 5G, big data analytics, IoT, critical information infrastructures, and SCADA systems, which are essential to each nation’s security. The lab uses machine learning approaches for solving service composition, autonomic computing, and other research problems related to high performance systems, such as cloud computing environment. Critically, it involves graduates and undergraduates with interdisciplinary skills in ongoing research projects.


ACRL has recently opened active research collaborations with Virginia Tech, The University of Arizona, Virginia Commonwealth University, Mississippi State University, AFRL, and Office of Naval Research (ONR).


“Our testbed at ACRL helps us involve our undergraduate and graduate students in ongoing research activities through their capstone or master projects/thesis work,” said Dr. Kholidy. “Students can test and evaluate their source codes using three different environments, namely 5G, IoT, and cloud computing. It helps students benchmark their solutions compared to other state-of-the-art solutions. Students can also use our datasets or deploy their datasets through the testbed.

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