Wisconsin researchers get $6M Navy grant for research

MADISON — The U.S. Navy has awarded a team of computer science researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison over $6 million to work on developing technology for better performance, management and security of container software.

Containers are programs that help software run while transferring from one computing environment to another. Containers help different elements a user handles stay together.

The university said researchers from the University of Illinois, Oregon State University, the University of Toronto and computer security GrammaTech will collaborate on the project, the Wisconsin State Journal reported . The grant from the Office of Naval Research will keep the project funded for five years.

Computer sciences professor Somesh Jha is working on the project. Jha said containers can build on each other and become bloated with unnecessary elements.

"If we can create techniques to decrease container bloat, the potential benefit to society is huge in terms of software performance, security and trustworthiness," Jha said.

Tom Reps, a University of Wisconsin-Madison computer sciences professor and co-founder of GrammaTech, is also working on the project.

"The larger Software Customization and Complexity Reduction program that we (the de-bloating team) are part of is a creative effort to build a technology base for a win-win: making software run faster at the same time the 'attack surface,' or number of potentially attackable features, is reduced," Reps said.