NSA announces 3rd annual best scientific cybersecurity paper competition

NSA 112The National Security Agency announced on February 9 that it is seeking nominations for the 3rd Annual Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition.   The competition is for scientific papers that were published between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 and that show an outstanding contribution to cybersecurity science.  Deadline for nominations is March 31, 2015.

The competition was created to stimulate research toward the development of systems that are resilient to cyber attacks. Entries are judged on scientific merit, the strength and significance of the work reported, and the degree to which the papers exemplify how to perform and report scientific research in cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity remains an emerging discipline, drawing from engineering, science, and a bit of art. For cybersecurity to mature as a science, we all need to understand and build upon sound scientific roots. NSA’s Annual Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition gives us an opportunity to support that process by identifying and commending excellence—those papers that significantly advance foundational cybersecurity research.   We appreciate all those who participate in the paper selection process, from nomination through the external experts who provide us their recommendations.” —Dr. Deborah Frincke, NSA Director of Research

Last year, the competition winning paper was written by Chang Liu, Michael Hicks, and Elaine Shi from the University of Maryland. Their winning paper, “Memory Trace Oblivious Program Execution,” was presented at the 2013 IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium. The paper leveraged programming language techniques to offer efficient memory-trace oblivious program execution while providing formal security guarantees. This approach helps programs run securely in an environment where an attacker can employ physical attacks.  A second paper was chosen as honorable mention.

This year’s nominations will be reviewed by a panel of distinguished experts including:

  • Dr. Whitfield Diffie, Cybersecurity Advisor
  • Dr. Dan Geer, In-Q-Tel
  • Dr. John McLean, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Professor Angela Sasse, University College London
  • Professor Fred Schneider, Cornell University
  • Mr. Phillip Venables, Goldman Sachs
  • Professor  David Wagner, University of California at Berkeley
  • Dr. Jeannette Wing, Microsoft Research

Individual recommendations from the panel will be forwarded to the NSA Research Directorate, with Dr. Frincke making the final decision on awards.  The contest winner and honorable mentions will be announced on www.nsa.gov, and the winner will be invited to present the winning paper to an audience of cybersecurity experts.  For more information regarding the eligibility criteria, nomination procedures, criteria for judging, and to download the nomination forms,visit

The NSA Research Directorate brings the power of science to securing the future by creating breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These discoveries help provide the tools and technologies used globally to safeguard cyberspace. In addition, the Research Directorate enables the NSA to achieve and sustain intelligence advances against immediate and emerging threats to U.S. national security.

Source: NSA