UCI Engineering Computer Scientist Wins Amazon Research Award

Zhou Li has received an Amazon Research Award for his project to help organizations detect cyberattacks.

Feb. 13, 2023Zhou Li, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has received an Amazon Research Award for his project aimed at making organizations’ cyberenvironments safer. Li is one of 26 award recipients representing 24 universities in seven countries.

With this award, Amazon will provide Li with $80,000 in cash, access to more than 300 Amazon public datasets and $20,000 in credit for use of its artificial intelligence/machine learning cloud services and tools.

Li explains that organizations typically collect and analyze system and network logs to capture hackers. They often build a source history graph on top of the logs, so they can trace back from an attack consequence to its root cause. “For example, say a confidential document is leaked, we might be able to look back to the origin of that incident, possibly an employee clicking on a malicious URL,” said Li.

Attaining accurate and efficient historical information on large-scale log data can be challenging. To address this, Li’s team will develop new advanced graph-learning models to achieve increased classification accuracy and investigate new approaches to enhancing the robustness of the models against advanced attackers.

“We envision the success of this project will benefit many organizations and make their cyberenvironment much safer by detecting sophisticated cyberattacks,” he said.

– Lori Brandt