George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Centers and Labs

Serious Researchers at Work

The Volgenau School of Engineering research centers focus on issues ranging from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence.

Volgenau researcher marks up white board in Mason lab

Research centers are headed by Volgenau faculty, who draw from school resources while also benefiting from external sponsors on certain projects. Here, Siddhartha Sikdar, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering, works on a project.

Each center is headed by a distinguished Volgenau School faculty member who harnesses the resources of the school as well as those of external sponsors to conduct a wide range of projects.

From investigating the relationship between brain structure, activity, and function from the subcellular to the network level at the The Center for Neural Informatics, Neural Structures, and Neural Plasticity (CN3) to analyzing data from crowdsourcing to predict outcomes at the C4I & Cyber Center, the school's researchers are working to solve a myriad of real-world challenges.

VSE doctoral students collaborate with faculty and contribute to the centers’ research by participating in sponsored projects, sharing their work at research conferences, and publishing articles and reports.

Research Centers

Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE)

CARE's multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity encompasses the fields of technology, policy, business and leadership. Through partnerships with government and private industry, our innovative research is translated into practices and policies used in real-word settings. Our research includes security for distributed systems, mobile apps/devices, industrial control systems, and new technologies such as networked medical devices, as well as policies development for securing critical infrastructure and guidance for cybersecurity leadership/governance.

Center for Configuration Analytics and Automation (CCAA)

The Center for Configuration Analytics and Automation (CCAA) has been established under the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Program (I/UCRC). The center is a multi-university and multi-industry consortium established and led by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in partnership with George Mason University and a broad membership of industry and government organizations.

The goal of the Center is to build the critical mass of inter-disciplinary academic researchers and industry partners for addressing the current and future challenges of configuration analytics and automation to improve service assurability, security and resiliency of enterprise IT systems, cloud/SDN data centers, and cyber-physical systems by applying innovative analytics and automation.

The Center for Neural Informatics, Neural Structures, and Neural Plasticity (CN3)

The Center for Neural Informatics, Neural Structures, and Neural Plasticity (CN3) provides opportunities for cross-training in neuroscience, psychology, and engineering, both at the graduate and postdoctoral levels. Researchers investigate the relationship between brain structure, activity, and function from the subcellular to the network level.

Center for Secure Information Systems

The Center for Secure Information Systems was created to provide a dedicated environment to encourage the development of expertise in both the theoretical and applied aspects of information systems security. Its scope encompasses information secrecy, integrity, and availability problems in military, civil, and commercial sectors.

Center of Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, and Cyber

Mason is the nation's first and only civilian university-based entity offering a comprehensive academic and research program in C4I and Cyber Performs research in sensing and fusion, C3 architectures, communications and signal processing, command support and intelligent systems, modeling and simulation, and distributed education and training. Provides a bridge between Volgenau faculty expertise and the needs of government/defense/intelligence information technology users. Conducts active outreach programs to government and industry.

Learning Agents Center

The Learning Agents Center conducts fundamental and experimental research on the development of knowledge-based learning and problem solving agents. The center also supports teaching in the areas of intelligent agents, machine learning, knowledge acquisition, and artificial intelligence. Major research areas include instructable agents, multi-strategy learning and knowledge acquisition, domain modeling, knowledge representation and ontologies, cooperative problem solving, intelligent tutoring systems, and natural language processing.

Rapid Prototyping Research Center

The Rapid Prototyping Research Center (RPRC) focuses on providing its Department of Defense sponsors a unique perspective on rapid prototyping that aligns with Section 804 in the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act. Specifically, rather than developing a new system to satisfy intractable problems on the battlefield, the RPRC integrates new technology into existing infrastructure. This unique approach reduces acquisition costs since the sustainment tail is in place. It also reduces the time to field intractable solutions to the battlefield from 10-14 to 1-3 years and provides assurance that the prototype involved is integrated with the latest technology, not dated technology due to lengthy acquisition delivery timelines. 

Research Laboratories

Computer Vision and Neural Networks Laboratory

Researchers in this lab work on human-computer intelligent interaction, biometrics, data compression and fractal image representations, object recognition, motion analysis and stabilization, attention and control mechanisms, automatic target recognition, and intelligent agents for autonomous navigation.

Cryptographic Engineering Research Group

From Greek krpto (hidden) and grapho (write) comes the science and practice of hiding information. Most Internet users come in contact with cryptography when they go to a secure website of an Internet retailer. Other popular applications are secure e-mail, Internet banking, and mobile phones. Cryptographic Engineering is concerned with all aspects of implementing cryptographic algorithms in hardware and software. The labs' co-directors are Kris Gaj and Jens-Peter Kaps.

Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship

Have you got an IT business idea? We want you. The Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship (LITE) can help turn your ideas into reality through Prototype IT, which funds student entrepreneurs with a promising business idea and a preliminary prototype or proof of concept. In each funding cycle, entrepreneurial teams can request up to $1,000 for materials and supplies to develop prototypes. LITE also sponsors the Pitch IT Business Idea Competition, which awards grants totaling $2,000. 

Networking and Simulation Laboratory

This lab is part of the GMU C4I Center -- command, control, communications, computing, computing, intelligence, and cyber. The lab researches distributed multimedia systems for education and training (including virtual simulation). Projects include: 

  • Battle Management Language: The project started as part of the U.S. Army's Simulation-to-C4I Interoperability Overarching Integrated Product Team. ​
  • Network Workbench: The project involves network simulation software for academic investigation of Internet concepts.​
  • EXtensible Modeling and Simulation Framework Overlay Multicast​ (XOM): This project, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, aims to provide multicast services for real-time modeling and simulation in an open network. 
System Architectures Laboratory

This lab conducts basic and applied research in such areas as the modeling and design and evaluation of architectures for information systems. The emphasis is on command and control applications.

Sponsored Research Administration

Terri Mancini, Director

Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 5302
703-993-9550; FAX: 703-993-1633

Contact Terri Mancini regarding:

  • Research Award Information
  • External Funding Reports
  • Research Expenditures and Buyouts
  • Review Routings, Budgets and Indirect Distributions
  • Proposal Budget Preparation
  • Approve GRA and Tuition Charges on Grants

Joyce Kong, Sponsored Research Financial Analyst

Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 5201
703-993-1666; FAX: (703) 993-1633

Contact Joyce Kong regarding:

  • Effort Certification Tracking
  • Routing Process of Proposals through VSE and OSP
  • GRA Hires (on grants), Stipends and Tuition Charges
  • Updating VSE Proposal and Awards Database
  • Researching Grant Expenditure Procedures