Visiting Research Scientist in MC2 Brings New Ideas, Collaborations

Jan 20, 2015

A visiting research scientist in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) is on the front lines in developing new projects and collaborations between MC2 and a leading cybersecurity company based in Baltimore.

James L. Ulrich (left) leads the Advanced Projects Team at CyberPoint Labs, part of CyberPoint International LLC.

Twice a week, he spends his days interacting with MC2 students and faculty to hear about their latest research and to identify areas for potential collaboration.

“MC2 is a wonderful environment for collaboration on cutting-edge cybersecurity research, and I’m certainly enjoying my time there,” says Ulrich, who has more than 25 years of experience developing research models, tools and software applications for industry, with a focus on intelligence, media and finance.

MC2 faculty are also benefitting from the collaboration, which is part of a three-year partnership agreement between MC2 and CyberPoint.

One example is Atif Memon, a professor of computer science with appointments in MC2 and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), who was able to obtain an account on, CyberPoint’s malware analysis framework and expert system, to conduct research.

Dana Dachman-Soled, another MC2 faculty member with an appointment in UMIACS, notes having Ulrich in MC2 has been “extremely helpful.”

“I recently collaborated with James and his team at CyberPoint on a DARPA grant proposal,” she says. “James coordinated a meeting in MC2 with myself and three team members where we brainstormed ideas for the proposal and explored how CyberPoint's expertise could best be applied to the problem.”

MC2 Director Jonathan Katz says he is pleased with the results the partnership has yielded.

“We are thrilled that several projects have already been initiated as a result of James’s visit,” Katz says. “Our faculty appreciate the opportunity to interact with James, and to get a different perspective on some of the work they are doing.”

Mark Raugas, chief scientist of Cyberpoint International, is also happy with the interactive role Ulrich has with MC2.

Raugas notes that CyberPoint has a mission to support and collaborate with academic institutions, and chose to partner with UMD based on the strength of its faculty research.

“James excels at developing rigorous arguments and analyses, applying mathematical reasoning to a variety of problems,” Raugas says. “He was a natural choice when I looked to deepening our company’s connection with the University of Maryland, and I hope James can continue to spark interesting discussions and develop new problem sets in cybersecurity that are of interest to both industry and academia.”

Ulrich holds a doctorate in mathematics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

At CyberPoint, Ulrich has led efforts to develop quantitative models for analyzing the dollar value of an organization’s risk due to vulnerabilities in its computing infrastructure. He has also conducted research on the development of machine-learning models for malware detection, and their incorporation within alarm triage for monitoring systems.

Additionally, Ulrich has run the summer internship program for the Advanced Projects Team at CyberPoint Labs.

For more information on how to connect with faculty and students in MC2, contact director Jonathan Katz at 301-405-0794.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld