[PAST EVENT] Yutao Tang, Computer Science - Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal

February 12, 2018
11:30am - 1:30pm
Washington Hall, Room 302
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location

Currently, the client-server model has been widely utilized in mobile cloud computing and mobile edge computing. In this model, servers generally have more powerful and reliable resources, and manage most of processes and store most of data; on the contrary, clients, working as proxies, request specified data or processes from servers and render them to end users. This model so far has been largely targeting at performance and scalability, while it is less investigated or even neglected regarding other areas. In this proposal, we exploit the client-server model, along with other techniques like virtualization, to improve the security and usability of mobile applications.

First, we introduce vTrust, a new mobile app trusted execution environment, which offloads the general execution and storage of a mobile app to a trusted remote server (e.g., a VM running in a cloud) and secures the I/O between the server and the mobile device with the aid of a trusted hypervisor on the mobile device. Specifically, vTrust establishes an encrypted I/O channel between the local hypervisor and the remote server, such that any sensitive data flowing through the mobile OS, which is hosted by the hypervisor, is encrypted from the perspective of the client mobile OS. To enhance the performance of vTrust, we have also applied multiple optimizations, such as output data compression and selective sensor data transmission.

Second, we present MobiPlay, a mobile-cloud based system, which aims to improve the usability of mobile app testing. To thoroughly test and debug a mobile app, one has to record and replay a variety of inputs, which is challenging. By collaborating between a tested mobile phone and a cloud server, MobiPlay can effectively record and replay all types of input data without requiring extra privileges, such as root privilege. Specifically, MobiPlay runs the to-be-tested application on the server under exactly the same environment as the mobile phone, and displays the GUI of the application in real time on a thin client application installed on the mobile phone. MobiPlay supports data either to be recorded on the mobile or cloud server. We implemented MobiPlay and evaluated it with tens of popular mobile applications showing that MobiPlay is efficient, flexible, and comprehensive.    
Finally, we propose to design a system based on the client-server model for IoT devices. In this system, a smartphone can rent its idle resources to the third party, which can install applications to conduct various tasks, such as collecting and processing data from smart meters nearby. If the smartphone stops providing resources while the task has not been finished, it can migrate the unfinished task to other smartphones nearby or send it back to the cloud server.

Yutao Tang is a Ph.D. candidate of Computer Science at William & Mary, advised by Dr. Qun Li. His research interests include system security, mobile computing and edge computing. He received his Bachelor degree in Computer Science from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and Master degree in Computer System from Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.