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Drexel Researchers Win Comcast Grant to Improve Video On Demand Safety, Quality

January 14, 2015

Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) faculty member Spiros Mancoridis, PhD (PI) and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty members Naga Kandasamy, PhD, Harish Sethu, PhD and Steven Weber, PhD (co-PIs) are recipients of a $200,000 grant (beginning January 2015) from the Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation (CSI).

The winning Drexel proposal, titled “Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics,” was one of six selected by CSI for funding. The project focuses on two specific challenges related to the monitoring of Comcast’s Video On Demand (VoD) service.

First, as VoD service is subject to the constant threat of malicious activity such as advanced persistent threats and unauthorized access, the project aims to improve security anomaly detection and threat detection at both the computer network and host levels.

Secondly, in detecting anomalies in the system, the project will develop metrics to assess and improve the quality of experience (QoE) for VoD users. If the network bandwidth is low, the VoD service may appear choppy and inconsistent; Comcast would then be able to use the team’s detection results to adjust their network and server capacity to improve the QoE for their customers.

Mancoridis, professor and senior associate dean for computing and CCI academic affairs, and his team will be collaborating on the project with Drexel researchers from the Drexel University Cybersecurity Institute—the University’s focal point for research and educational programs in organizational cyber risk management—and the Applied Informatics Group, which specializes in the rapid development, deployment and testing of intelligent information systems.

About Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation
Established in 2014 by Comcast in partnership with the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut (UConn), the Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation’s (CSI) mission is to lead research, teaching and workforce development in hardware, software and network security. CSI attracts a new pool of talented students excited about cutting-edge industry challenges at undergraduate and graduate levels, develops unique workforce by early identification of exceptional students to be trained in various domains of security, develops innovative courses, develops certificate and degree programs for continuing education, increases capacity for sponsored research of interest to industry and government, and facilitates technology transfer to the larger industry (cable, content, supply chain, etc.). For more information about CSI, please visit their website at www.csi.uconn.edu.

About Comcast Cable
Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses.  Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.  Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

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