Prof. Lan Wang Leading $825K NSF-funded mGuard Project in Collaboration with MD2K and UCLA

Posted on 2020-08-04

Professor and chair Lan Wang (PI) is leading the new mGuard project with co-PIs Prof. Santosh Kumar and Prof. Lixia Zhang from UCLA.  mGuard aims to address two major data access challenges encountered by the NIH Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K) in its pursuit to share mobile health (mHealth) data among researchers who investigate a wide range of health and wellness issues.

Because wearable sensor data may expose privacy-sensitive information about a user, they should only be accessed by authorized users: currently, this access control is largely handled manually, incurring high overhead and subject to human errors. Second, to enable real-time intervention for certain medical conditions, researchers need to retrieve and process the sensor data in real-time, which is not supported at this time. mGuard tackles the above challenges by utilizing the results from the NSF-supported Named Data Networking (NDN) initiative, in particular, the solutions that automate the cryptographic key management for data access control (name-based access control, or NAC) and the solutions that enable real-time synchronization among distributed datasets (NDN Sync). First, mGuard utilizes and extends NDN NAC to automate fine-grained access control of confidential data to authorized researchers. Second, it utilizes NDN Sync to provide real-time data production notification; based on this, it enables applications to publish and subscribe to data in real time by directly using MD2K data names. These new capabilities will be deployed in the MD2K cyberinfrastructure.

This enables the MD2K center to share its data securely and in real time with a large number of mHealth researchers. The transformative potential of mGuard thus extends across many types of digital interventions and many health domains. mGuard also encourages researchers in other areas of data-intensive applications to explore NDN's data-centric solutions. To train the next generation, mGuard is creating undergraduate and graduate education materials including concrete examples and hands-on exercises, as well as training and outreach activities through online seminars, conference tutorials, mHealth training institute and summer camps. This will also support two postdocs and eight graduate students.

More information about mGuard is available at mguard.md2k.org.  The mGuard project is supported by a $825K grant from NSF.