07-041: A Trustworthy Controller for Attack Resistant, Continuous Network Services

The Trustworthy Controller for Attack Resistant, Continuous Network Services is a technology that takes automatic corrective actions to keep online virtual servers healthy.

Large, complex software systems are used to provide everyday network services such as web access, email, file transfer, and collaboration services. However, the complexity of these software systems makes perfect construction unrealizable. As a result, these systems are vulnerable to attack which could potentially cause a major interruption in service. While intrusion detection and prevention technologies have become mainstream products, a stubborn problem still persists: the inevitability of errors.

This technology aims to help solve the problem by creating a scalable system for providing attack resistant, uninterruptible network services. The system is premised on the notion that software is and will continue to be flawed and vulnerable to attack. With this in mind, the inventors were able to develop an architecture that utilizes virtualization for increased support and manageability. A key element to this architecture is a Trustworthy Controller (TC). The Trustworthy Controller takes automatic corrective actions to keep online servers healthy. One of the corrective actions includes periodically restoring the pristine state of the server using a virtualization feature called a snapshot. This is extremely important because it means that the server is able to correct itself by simply reverting to an earlier, uncorrupted version of itself. Furthermore, because of the virtual nature of this system, other servers can simultaneously run with little or no disruption. This is extremely vital, especially in a place of business where server downtime can very well mean lost dollars.

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07-004: Image Based Turing Test

This technology is an image based CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) that can authenticate that the user of a web service is a human being.

The use of CAPTCHAs in web interfaces, it is hoped will keep such Bots from misusing the web service. Human users will be easily able to authenticate themselves as being human by passing the tests while machines will typically fail. Some practical examples of web services where CAPTCHAs are required are: online polls, preventing spammers from getting free e-mail ids, preventing chat bots from irritating people in chat rooms, preventing automated online dictionary attacks in password systems, preventing unruly search engine bots from indexing private web pages, preventing web bots from adding advertisements to comment fields in Blogs etc. As the web replaces human to human physical interaction such examples are bound to increase.

A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen. A person’s ability to pass this CAPTCHA may be related to the person’s familiarity with the language that the letters or digits originate.

To get past the cultural bias of present CAPTCHA’s, this technology requires that the user to match groups of related images. To make the test more difficult for a computer o pass, many of the images are distorted. Additionally, the images may be pictures of faces taken from different angles and under different lighting conditions.

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07-024: Arsenic Filtration

Mason researcher Abul Hussam has developed an inexpensive, environmentally sound way to remove arsenic from ground water, which will make drinking water safer for millions of people in developing countries.

More than 10,000 such filters are in use in Bangladesh and continue to provide more than a billion liters of clean drinking water, stopping the spread of arsenic poisoning and improving the lives of countless people.

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06-020: Instructional Handheld Data System

The Instructional Handheld Data (KIHd) System is a patent pending Internet based interactive training, evaluation, and data collection system for use in special education.

This uncomplicated system is designed to operate efficiently through portable handheld wireless devices (including PDA’s and smart phones) and synchronize with personal computers for data collection, storage, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and reporting of progress. The KIHd system was developed to be used by teachers, parents and other caregivers to collect and analyze data in real-time for children with special needs to facilitate data-driven, educational decisions to ultimately improve student outcomes. The advantage of this technology is that all caregivers of the individual have around the clock information that can be applied to adjusting proper interventions, educational opportunities, etc. The system is easy to use and understand. The interfaces and reports were professionally developed by experts in improving the lives and productivity of persons with disabilities.

The market for the product encompasses parents, teachers, therapists, school administrators, and medical practitioners. This technology is prototyped and currently implemented in research environments with autistic children. It has been field tested in a school system and is ready for commercialization.

The KIHd System was developed at the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities (KIHd). KIHD is a part of the College of Education & Human Development at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

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05-001, 06-040: Syntactic Landmine Detection

The syntactic Landmine Detection technology uses syntactic pattern recognition mechanisms to detect landmines using high speed imaging platforms in real-time.

This technology aims to help solve one of the world's largest humanitarian and military problems, unexploded landmines and ordinances. Landmines left over from world conflicts prevent millions of acres of otherwise usable land from being used productively and are a significant cause of unnecessary deaths and injuries. The technology processes signals from existing ground penetrating radars. But unlike existing systems, the signal processing in this system images the internal structure of non-metallic landmines in spite of a myriad of soil types, miscellaneous objects and weather conditions. The imaging can also recognize the detailed external structure of metallic landmines as well as distinguish target landmines from among other landmines. Amazingly, this invention has the potential to operate at real-time speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour.

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06-039: Egocentric Display

This graphical display can present 3D data in 2D, allowing a user to "see" objects that are outside the normal field of view. Possible uses include video games, sensor management systems in military aircraft panel, remote vehicles, collision avoidance displays, drilling, and medical imaging.

The egocentric display presents information about areas located around an ego center on a simple and intuitive display by condensing volumetric information into a sphere which is then mapped into a 2D display. The display could be used by pilot flying an aircraft to quickly identify important information about objects flying in the airspace surrounding the aircraft. The information presented could include: location, velocity, and direction data for each object. In another example, the display could be used to present medical imaging information around a point of interest such as a cancerous tumor. The display could even be used to present properties related to virtual spaces such as within a fantasy world, a database, or a network.

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06-016: Public policy development tool

A software tool that models the outcome of interventions directed to alcohol users in a local community.

The model uses time-varying conditional probabilities and actual community data. For example, the model may be used to predict if an increase in police presence in public bars will increase domestic violence. It is envisioned that this tool can be used to study the social ramifications of policy decisions to enforce differing interventions on other issues within a community such as drug enforcement, gun enforcement or immigration enforcement.

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06-015: Active covert signal generation and detection

This technology attaches a covert signal to a packetized data stream without modifying any of the data or headers in the packets.

An exemplary prototype was built that watermarked encrypted VoIP data streams that were effectively identified after being anonymized by a low latency anonymizing networks on the Internet.

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05-033: SiRNAs with an Enhanced Specificity to the Target

George Mason University researchers have developed an algorithm that enables the rapid design of siRNAs with minimized off-target hybridization.

Small interference (si) RNAs can silence gene expression by interfering with the stability and translation of messenger RNA. Its effectiveness, however, can be compromised because the 21 - 23 nucleotide length of the siRNAs now available may degrade unrelated RNA.
The siRNAs designed by using the GMU algorithm are comprised of shorter, truly unique overlapping sequences of 12-15 nucleotides, resulting in greater targeting specificity.

The GMU oligonucleotides can be used both for therapeutic and experimental siRNA silencing and as gene-specific sets of probes for long oligonucleotide based expression microarrays or for Real-Time PCR. This invention provides methods and systems for identifying unique polynucleotide sequences within a larger polynucleotide sequence.

The methods and systems are useful for designing unique polynucleotides for a variety of purposes such as probes, primers, transcription or translation modulators, siRNA, capture labels, etc. Polynucleotides can be used in silencing or interference RNA technologies, PCR (including quantitative PCR), microarrays, etc.

Market Significance:
iRNA technology will have a significant impact on the development of treatments for a variety of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmune disorders.

The GMU designed siRNA will provide:
- More specific gene targeting, reducing one of the most prevalent problems associated with the use of RNA interference technology.
-Reduction in the number of degraded genes, thus reducing unwanted or unforeseen molecular side effects.
-Increased specificity of probe annealing in micro array and Real-Time PCR type of experiments.
-Easy application to existing technology to provide easier and cleaner readings for diagnostic purposes.
- A cost effective alternative to existing methods of oligonucleotide design.

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05-029: Rapid Indicator of Anthrax Infections

George Mason University researchers have discovered a low cost, rapid, early indicator of the presence of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax infections.


Early symptoms of an anthrax infection are often indistinguishable from a common flu, and if undetected and untreated anthrax infection can have mortality rates nearing 100%.

Even where the presence of anthrax is suspected, the current diagnostic of growing, isolating, and identifYing a culture of the bacteria can take several days, and the timing of proper treatment for an anthrax infection is important to patient survival. More rapid tests are becoming available, but may only detect the bacteria days after infection, and may require expensive equipment and particular expertise that many hospital labs, and certainly labs serving first responders, may not possess. There is a clear need for this test, which allows the rapid and easy detection of a Bacillus anthracis indicator which presents less than a day after initial infection.


George Mason University researchers discovered high levels of a soluble protein in the blood of anthrax infected animals. The protein, syndecan, is shed from the surface of host cells during infection. Syndecan levels begin spiking hours after initial infection, remain higher than normal for days afterward before slowly leveling off (see reverse), and might be used to track progression of the infection. Soluble syndecan can be detected and quantified using common immunoassay methods.

Market Significance:

The development of diagnostics, prophylactics, and treatments for anthrax infection is one of the top priorities of U.S. biodefense initiatives. Although the need for frequent anthrax testing in the civilian population is thankfully low, hospitals would certainly want to keep such a test on hand and the military may wish to test personell in high risk areas more regularly. The test can indicate other types of bacterial infection and lends itself to incorporation into a kit or suite of common immunological blood tests. Lastly, a large and steady market may be found in veterinary applications.


- Faster detection of an indicator of infection than currently available tests
- More rapidly alerts authorities to an anthrax outbreak
- May be applied to other infections caused by gram-positive bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes
- Quantifies the level of a potential therapeutic target

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