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Annual reporting Cyberspace / Data Science research programmes

armasuisse Science and Technology’s annual reporting on the two research programmes «Cyberspace» and «Data Science» took place in Thun on Tuesday, 2 May 2023. This was an internal DDPS event. Around 90 specialists were present and used the opportunity for an in-depth exchange of ideas.

10.05.2023 | Lucas Ballerstedt, Specialised Service Innovation and Processes, armasuisse Science and Technology

Two digital hands shake hands

The latest findings and activities of the research projects are presented internally to the DDPS at the annual reporting events. This promotes knowledge sharing within the department and makes an important contribution to cooperation.

Each year, representatives from the armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) research programmes present their activities and projects from the respective programmes. The second annual reporting event was devoted to the «Cyberspace» and «Data Science» research programmes. Around 90 experts from the DDPS were present and used this opportunity to learn about the latest findings from the research programmes and to promote the exchange of knowledge as well as the network.

Cyberspace, a growing concept

The research programme manager Dr. Bernhard Tellenbach, armasuisse S+T, held the opening speech and welcomed the guests. He gave those present an overview of the «Cyberspace» research programme and outlined its fields of activity and competences in more detail. A study on the cyber security research landscape of Switzerland conducted as part of the research programme shows that the Swiss universities are active in practically all domains, although major differences exist with regard to the weighting of the domains. A closer look at the coverage of topics within the respective domain also indicates that large resource-related gaps exist here. He also presented the results of a hackathon on electric cars, more precisely the corresponding charging stations. Using the simplest means, it is thus possible to interrupt the charging process from a safe distance. Following this, Dr. Joachim Rosenthal, Professor at the University of Zurich, provided insights into his activities in the area of code-based cryptography, which is a sub-field of post-quantum cryptography. It becomes clear that much research is still required before we can be relatively certain that the quantum computer no longer represents a threat, from the perspective of cryptography.

The focus then moved to the topic of cyber security in critical infrastructures. First of all, researchers from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts provided insights into the cybersecurity of industrial control systems in the energy sector. The morning was concluded by Dr. Martin Strohmeier, scientific project manager at armasuisse S+T. He explained about cyber security in the area of space infrastructure. Current research activities on this topic are examining all relevant infrastructure areas – ground stations, satellites and the communication between both segments.

Data science as a driver

The afternoon was dedicated to the «Data Science» research programme and started with a welcome speech by research programme manager Dr. Gérôme Bovet, armasuisse S+T. To start with, he presented the activities and core competences of the research programme to the participants. He explained that interest in tools, based on artificial intelligence, has increased rapidly in recent years. Thus Netflix took 3.5 years to generate a million subscribers. At ChatGPT, it took only five days to reach a million users. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, EPFL, then provided insights into what is known as the technological landscape identification. The focus here is on methods which allow technologies and companies that in future could play an important role in the cyber landscape to be identified from open source data. Subsequently, researchers from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Valais presented the results of their activities in the area of the identification of cyber anomalies in electrical power networks through machine learning. Thanks to machine learning, cyber attacks which have an impact on the power supply and which could possibly cause a blackout, can be identified quickly. The afternoon and thus the second annual reporting series was concluded by Dr. Albert Blarer and Dr. Raphael Meier, armasuisse S+T. They addressed the topics of causal analysis and cross-modal deep learning applications in the area of defence. It emerged that correlations often do not prove to be useful in identifying relationships between events (for example, the causes of unrest). In addition, new few-shot learning models enable relevant patterns to be examined with little annotated data from different sources (text, image) (such as narratives in social media).

For all those present, these annual face-to-face meetings are extremely important, as they consolidate mutual exchange and promote cooperation.

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