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Meet a Data Scientist-Selcuk Uluagac

April 8, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Selcuk Uluagac

The Meet a Data Scientist series is a chance to get up close and personal with top-level experts in a wide variety of fields that use data science.  The purpose of this series is to introduce our audience to the people behind the data, their lives, interests, career choices, their work,

and passion for how they can use data to solve grand challenges in their respective fields.  Join us as we peer behind the curtain and meet the data scientists behind the data!

On Thursday, April 8, 2021 (2:00-3:00 PM), IDSC is hosting the seventh session in the “Meet a Data Scientist” series with A. Selcuk Uluagac, PhD. Dr. Uluagac is currently a member of the Florida International University faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as an Eminent Scholar Chaired Associate Professor, where he directs the Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab (CSL).

Register Now |  Thursday, April 8, 2021, 2:00-3:00 PM

TALK TITLE: Security and Privacy of IoT Apps and Devices: A Machine Learning Perspective 

Cyberspace is expanding fast with the introduction of new Internet of Things (IoT) and CPS devices. Wearables, smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness trackers, medical devices, Internet-connected house appliances, and vehicles have grown exponentially in a short period of time. Given the increasingly critical nature of the cyberspace of these IoT devices and applications, it is imperative that they are secured against malicious activities. In this talk, Dr. Uluagac will introduce different current research projects in Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab (CSL) related to the security and privacy of IoT devices and applications, highlighting how different machine learning algorithms enabled impeccable results:

  1. The first topic will introduce the sensory channel threats to CPS and IoT systems. Dr. Uluagac will discuss how using sensory channels (e.g., light, temperature, infrared), an adversary can successfully attack IoT/CPS applications and devices.
  2. The second topic will introduce the design of a novel IoT device fingerprinting and identification framework to complement existing security solutions (e.g., authentication and access control) in identifying IoT devices (i.e., ensuring the devices are actually who they are).
  3. The third topic will focus on how IoT devices deployed in smart settings (e.g., home, office) can leak sensitive information (events, activities) from different IoT apps and implementations even if the traffic is encrypted.
  4. Dr. Uluagac will introduce a usable wearable-assisted continuous authentication framework where a wearable device (e.g., smartwatch) is used to authenticate a computer user continuously utilizing the motion sensors of the wearable.
  5. Finally, he will share the CSL’s most recent work in detecting illegal bitcoin operations (i.e., cryptojacking), which uses machine learning techniques to accurately detect the presence of unwarranted cryptomining activity in real-time.


About Selcuk Ulugac

Before FIU, Dr. Uluagac was a Senior Research Engineer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Prior to Georgia Tech, he was a Senior Research Engineer at Symantec.

Dr. Uluagac earned his Ph.D. from the School of ECE at Georgia Institute of Technology. He also received an M.S. in Information Security from the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech and a M.S. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

His research is on security and privacy of Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and he has hundreds of scientific/creative works in the practical and applied aspects of these areas.  In 2015, Dr. Uluagac received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), which is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. In 2015, he was awarded the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)’s Summer Faculty Fellowship. In 2016, he received the Summer Faculty Fellowship from the University of Padua (Università di Padova), Italy.

He is an active member of IEEE, ACM, and USENIX and a regular contributor to national panels and leading journals and conferences in the field. Dr. Uluagac has served on the program committees of top-tier security conferences such as IEEE S&P (Oakland), NDSS, ASIACCS, ACSAC, inter alia. He was the General Chair of ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (ACM WiSec) in 2019. He was the TPC Co-Chair of IEEE Conference on Network Function Virtualization & Software Defined Networks in 2016 and 2017 and IEEE International Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems Security (CPS-Sec) in 2014-18, which he initiated. In 2018, he co-chaired the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Annual Expo and Conference, which is one of the largest events in the cyber education domain.

Currently, he serves on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, IEEE Communications and Surveys and Tutorials (network security lead area editor), and Elsevier Computer Networks. He has been very active in external funding efforts during his tenure at FIU on IoT and CPS security topics, and successfully been awarded competitive grants by US NSF, US Department of Energy, US Department of Labor, US Air Force Research Lab, Cyber Florida, Trend Micro, and Cisco.

He is very entrepreneurial and visionary with his research. Many of his research ideas have resulted in patents. And, he is very active in the local and national community; his research has been covered by different media outlets (TV, online, published) numerous times. More information can be obtained from: http://nweb.eng.fiu.edu/selcuk/

Mark your calendar for the next “Meet a Data Scientist” talk to be held on Zoom. These events are free and open to the public.

  • Daniel Messinger 3:30-4:30 PM, Thursday, April 22, 2021 Register Now

University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing MEET A DATA SCIENTIST Lecture Series Flyer


Past Sessions:

University of Miami Institute for Data Science and Computing Meet A Data Scientist Lecture Series FLYER


>Yelena Yesha 1/27/2021  Click for Video and Summary. TALK TITLE: “Data Science:  A Paradigm of Actionable Knowledge” 


>Ken Goodman 1/14/2021  Click for Video and Summary. TALK TITLE: “Data Science + Ethics – UM’s Role in the New Research” 


>Tim Norris 12/9/2020

Opening with a parallel to the writings of Enlightenment-era thinker John Locke on the changes in property and governance and shift to capitalism at that time as it relates to data science in making today’s world a better place, self-described “bit pusher” Tim Norris shared his fascinating journey into a career as an “embedded data curator.”


Tim is passionate about making data more useful, sharing it, and not storing it away; It’s important that we curate the data and tell stories with it. In this commonly used DIKW pyramid representation, the base layer “the World” was missing—he added it—as it helps to illustrate his objection to the term “information ecosystem” because that takes away “the world”. He was taught Statistics by a Buddhist monk who emphasized that your interpretation of the data is what counts the most.

Tim Norris powerpoint slide


In this vein, he offered this quote:

Tim Norris powerpoint slide

Tim’s fascinating career in mapmaking data evolved as did the technology used. He learned that the data doesn’t tell the story. Humans tell the story. “It takes a certain amount of understanding of data to manipulate it and communicate the results.”  The current global governance tendency toward open data is great but there are still many obstacles to data sharing.

Tim Norris powerpoint slide

The Q and A touched on the “So what?!” of working with data and who benefits from data extracted from us as we go about our lives. Data is a public good, but who should pay for the costs of gathering and processing it? A data tax maybe?

  • Tim recommended everyone watch The Social Dilemma (currently on Netflix).
  • He also noted that Wall Street’s Standard & Poor’s is now the “world’s largest, global resource for index-based concepts, data, and research.”

Click here for Tim’s full Powerpoint presentation (use arrow keys to navigate).  Here is his github profile.


>Ben Kirtman 11/18/2020

The second talk featured Dr. Ben Kirtman, a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Dr. Kirtman uses atmosphere-ocean general circulation models to study the predictability and variability of the Earth’s climate system. Dr. Kirtman also teaches graduate courses on the general circulation of the atmosphere and El Niño/Southern Oscillation, and climate prediction and predictability. Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Dr. Kirtman shared a funny story about his early start with computers and his (harmless) hacking efforts that got also his [also brilliant] Dad in a little ‘hot water’.  Relating subsequently having to monitor flooding in his basement (related to El Niño) as a punishment, he’s come a long way! He’s understandably proud of the fact that the University of Miami has been the lead in the multi-agency, multi-institutional effort to improve NOAA’s seasonal and sub-seasonal operative forecasts since 2015.  His NMME (North-American Multi-Model Ensemble, on the chart below in light pink NCAR_CCSM4) forecasting system consists of coupled models from US modeling centers including NOAA/NCEP, NOAA/GFDL, IRI, NCAR, NASA, and from Canada’s modeling center. It has proven extremely effective at quantifying prediction uncertainty due to uncertainty in model formulation, and has proven to produce better prediction quality (on average) than any single model ensemble.

Ben Kirtman slide NMME

The talk went from touching on the disparate data sources that go into forecasting El Niño and La Niña, to using machine learning to capture the Gulfstream’s interactions with the atmosphere (parameterization/parametrization), and ended with questions from the audience on the future of machine learning in climate prediction.

Ben Kirtman slides

Dr, Kirtman concluded with emphasizing that “What question are you trying to solve?” should drive what data/methods you use. He conveyed that new climate model(s) will be a blend with machine learning, which may lead to breakthroughs on how models work.

Ben Kirtman slides

Dr. Kirtman also teaches dynamic meteorology and atmospheric thermodynamics to undergraduates, and he mentors graduate students in the Meteorology and Physical Oceanography graduate program, as well as post-doctoral researchers.

His research is a wide-ranging program designed to understand and quantify the limits of climate predictability from days to decades. His research also involves understanding how the climate will change in response to changes in anthropogenic (e.g., greenhouse gases) and natural (e.g., volcanoes) forcing. This research involves hypothesis testing numerical experiments, using sophisticated state-of-the-art climate models and experimental realtime prediction. His group uses and has access to a suite of climate models, climate data, and high performance computational platforms.


>Alberto Cairo 11/4/2020

(Read the post-series-launch NEWS@TheU story here.)

The first talk featured Dr. Cairo, director of IDSC Visualization, Data Communication, and Information Design; the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism; and an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Management and the Department of Interactive Media.  Dr. Cairo has an extensive career in the news industry and has consulted with media organizations and educational institutions in more than 30 countries. He currently works as a consultant for Google and the Congressional Budget Office. Microsoft has called Dr. Cairo a pioneer who’s always been “at the vanguard of visual journalism.”  He is the author of the several books, including:

He has also written popular articles for numerous publications, such as The New York Times and Scientific American. In 2019, he was named an honorary member of the International Statistical Institute.

In his 11/4 presentation, Dr. Cairo shared the following tips/tools:





Zoom (online)


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