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2019-05 12

[Academics][Excellent R&D] Repairing Software with Software

As the era of the Internet of Things (IoT) approaches, the everyday embedded devices (from MP3 players to cars) also happen to carry their users' most personal information. If they fall into the wrong hands, these handy devices could easily turn against their users. Nevertheless, the software embedded in most devices has serious, well-known security weaknesses. Professor Oh Hee-kuck (Division of Computer Science, ERICA Campus) saw this problem, and through his recent study ARM Architecture-specific Binary Adjustment Technique and Low-level Obfuscation Method Research, invented software that can remove all software vulnerabilities. Through his research, Professor Oh Hee-kuck (Division of Computer Science, ERICA Campus) invented software that protects the security vulnerabilities of the software of embedded devices. According to Oh, many of the vendors of embedded devices are not mainstream platforms. Thus, they lack the capital and technology to properly implant the latest security technology or to offer sufficient updates for their software. Also, although 90 percent of small devices are based on the same ARM processor (a type of CPU), the devices have myriads of varieties. The security technologies applied on one device do not work on other kinds of devices, based on factors such as the manufacturing platform or the compiler version. For this reason, many embedded devices are left vulnerable to even the most outdated attacks. Through his research, Oh invented security software that can repair other software. His software aims to detect weak spots and strengthen devices’ security in a uniform way, regardless of the manufacturing platform or the program version. So, even if the device was not aided with security technology upon manufacturing or even if the original vendor disappeared, the device's security can constantly be strengthened. “Success in this research will greatly enhance the general security of embedded devices and may also encourage faster development of safe IoT,” explained Oh. Oh heavily emphasizes the importance of the individual device-user's awareness on the issue of security. Most importantly, Oh stressed the importance of individual’s awareness about security. “How many of you ignore the update message of the security system or set very weak passwords?” asked Oh. Even if the security system is strong, if the user’s password is weak, the attackers will easily make it through to the confidentialities. Furthermore, Oh explained that security is like a chain - if one link is broken, the others will easily collapse. “Perhaps, the ones who contribute the most to weak security are the individual users,” added Oh, encouraging each user to pay more attention to the importance of security. Lim Ji-woo Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon

2019-04 22

[Academics]A New Finding About T Cells May Cure More Diseases

When our defense mechanisms attack our own body, it is because a type of white blood cell called T cells are failing to do their job. For a long time, there had been a solidified belief on how T cells work. Recently, however, Professor Choi Je-min (Department of Life Science) proved this wrong, suggesting a correct insight into the mechanism behind T cells and making a prediction about the probability of finding an effective cure. Professor Choi Je-min (Department of Life Science) is explaining the correct mechanisms behind T cells. T cells normally play a central role in our immune system. They have a notably sophisticated battle technique, because although the cells number up to 10 billion, a single cell focuses on defeating only one specific antigen. That is, when a virus enters our body, only one cell out of the myriad notices and prepares to fight, similar to a highly-specialized sniper. The rest of the cells stand by, thereby being called bystander T cells. Nevertheless, T cells malfunction from time to time. They recognize our own body as an enemy, even attacking harmless cells. This causes autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers used to believe that, based on how T cells work, only one T cell would be responsible for the malfunctions as well. Choi raised the crucial question of whether this is actually true or not. "Do all the other T cells (9,999,999,999 in number) absolutely stand by while this happens?" Choi (center) and his students in their laboratory Choi found out that this is not the case. In fact, the bystander T cells also play a crucial role in causing autoimmune diseases. Choi and his students performed multiple experiments to prove this fact. For one of them, they injected a nerve cell antigen into a mouse and expected to find only the type of T cell responsible for the specific antigen to be found in the area of injection. Surprisingly, they found only 4 percent of T cells were antigen-specific cells. 95.31 percent were bystander T cells. Choi explains that this means, unlike the traditional thinking, bystander T cells contribute to attacking antigens they are not responsible for, and therefore, contribute to causing autoimmune diseases. Choi's finding is important in that it gives us a new, more correct insight into our body’s immune system. Also, it may contribute immensely to new medicines being developed for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. “Whereas the previous medicines focused on controlling only the antigen-specific T cells, our finding suggests that we should also take into account the bystander T cells to cure the disease,” explained Choi. Likewise, Choi hopes the finding will become the key to understanding more about the human body and ultimately lead to the development of more effective medicines. Lim Ji-woo Photos by Park Geun-hyung

2019-03 11

[Academics][Excellent R&D] To Stay Safe on Nuclear Power

Being a country in the possession of nuclear power plants, we are bound to be under the constant threat of a nuclear accident. The recent research of Professor Jae Moo-sung (Department of Nuclear Engineering) on Multi-Unit Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA) Test Regulation Technology Development is a step forward to keep us and our planet safe from a nuclear disaster. Professor Jae Moo-sung (Department of Nuclear Engineering)’s five-year-research on Multi-Unit Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA) Test Regulation Technology Development ensures greater safety around multi-unit nuclear plants. Korea has up to nine nuclear plants in one site, with a massive population living nearby. According to Jae, there are not many countries that have this many nuclear plants in one site as Korea does. For instance, America has a maximum of three plants in one site. Logically, malfunction of these plants could inflict catastrophic damage on those living nearby, which is why a thorough multi-unit risk test is necessary. Calculating the risk of a nuclear plant consists of three levels. Level 1 involves finding all possible combinations of conditions that could lead to the meltdown of the reactor core. Level 2 calculates the probability of a nuclear reactor containment building being destroyed and leaking radiation. Next, level 3 calculates how much damage the leaked radiation could have on the neighboring population, and the entire country. On top of these procedures, Jae managed to add a fourth level: calculating the risk of the multi-unit nuclear plants. The modeling Jae invented calculates whether a particular multi-unit plant meets the appropriate safety target level. This calculation allows for risk monitoring and deducing the optimum number of plants. In other words, it helps evaluate which part of the plant needs risk management, and finds out the maximum number of nuclear plants that can be located per site. With help from Jae’s modeling, the multi-unit plants could be up to 10 times safer. Calculating the risks posed by a nuclear plant consists of three levels. Jae added a fourth level: calculating the risk of the multi-unit nuclear plants, which increases the safety level by up to 10 times. Jae says this multi-unit PSA is the first in the world, and is thus receiving much attention from all over the world. His Multi-Unit Risk Research Group, consisting of eight institutes and more than a hundred researchers, awaits many important international workshops such as the International Symposium on Multi-Unit Risk and plans to stay on top of the latest research to ensure the greatest safety for our people. Lim Ji-woo Photos by Park Geun-hyung

2019-02 04

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] How to Effectively Create Eco-friendly Energy Using FOG

When we flush the toilet, the waste goes to the sewage treatment plant where the solid waste called sludge is separated from liquid waste. It seems as if this sludge will have no further use, but that turned out to be false. In fact, sludge is a massively important energy source for humans. In ‘Recent trends in anaerobic co-digestion: Fat, oil, and grease (FOG) for enhanced biomethanation,’ Professor Jeon Byong-hun (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering) explains the new trend in anaerobic digestion called, ‘anaerobic co-digestion,’ which is recently receiving a lot of attention. Anaerobic co-digestion yields energy through combusting not only the sewage sludge but also the lipidic waste such as fat, oil, and grease. FOG contains dense carbon and, thus, can largely increase the amount of methane when co-digested, which in turn can increase the amount of energy. Professor Jeon Byong-hun (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering) explains the anaerobic co-digestion, which creates methane from sludge and FOG, which can be combusted to create eco-friendly energy. When sludge gets processed in the sewage treatment plant, this biomass is broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen. This results in several end products, and one of them is methane. Methane could in turn be combusted to generate energy – a renewable, eco-friendly energy. This process is called anaerobic digestion. The anaerobic digestion is a necessary process used world-wide in order to reduce the amount of sewage sludge as well as to create eco-friendly energy. However, anaerobic digestion with only the sewage sludge as its source yielded an insignificant amount of energy, and there needed to be a way to increase the yielded energy. The diagram explains the ordinary sewage treatment in Phase 1 and the process of anaerobic co-digestion in Phase 3. (Photo courtesy of Jeon) Nonetheless, there have been several drawbacks in this particular process, which Jeon acknowledges and has suggested a new direction for the research. The problem is that long chain fatty acids (LCFA) contained in FOG inhibits the process, creating problems such as sludge floatation, washout, and scum formation. In the paper, Jeon discussed numerous pretreatment approaches and the latest techniques to solve these problems. Finally, based on the laboratory, pilot, and full-scale investigations, he concluded that the co-digestion of sludge and FOG greatly increased biomethane production, and presented several factors (such as concentration of FOG loading, mixing intensity, reactor configuration, and operation conditions) as the influential factor in improving the biomethane production. Jeon highlights the necessity of this particular form of bioenergy. “Most forms of energy can only be electrical energy. Solar, wind, and even atomic energy are all electrical energy only. Electrical energy is important, but it cannot replace everything, especially fossil fuel. Fossil fuel can be converted into electrical energy, but unlike other electrical energy sources, it can also become liquid, as well as gas and a solid energy carrier, and do many things, such as being put into transportation vehicles. The bioenergy coming from sludge and FOG can replace this portable energy source. Basically, this energy can do what any other eco-friendly energy cannot do,” Jeon emphasized. (Front row, middle) Jeon and his students pose for a photo in the laboratory. Lim Ji-woo Photos by Kang Cho-hyun

2018-12 17

[Academics]Fear Not English Writing; Use Translation

Learning a second language is laborious as one can recall the horrors of attempting to write for the first time using the foreign language. Out of the four skills of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), writing skills are thought of as the most difficult to master. That is why most English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes leave out the writing until the last. Nevertheless, Professor Lee Mun-woo (Department of English Language Education) argues that no exposure to writing at the early stage merely indicates that the hardest task is procrastinated to the later stage. “I figured that, instead, we should allow the beginners to face the writing but with little help from their first language.” In her paper, ‘Translation revisited for low-proficiency EFL writers,’ Lee proposes a case for a successful method in teaching EFL writing: namely, a translation method. Professor Lee Mun-woo (Department of English Language Education) aims to develop an EFL education model specific for Korean teachers and students. Lee held a three-semesters-long action research, personally teaching thirteen middle and high school students, all of whom had very low levels of English proficiency. “By low-proficiency, I mean that some students could barely read and write in English,” she recalled. At first, students were told to create their own stories, written in Korean. Those were then translated into English by the students themselves. Initially, they were not allowed to use their dictionaries. “It was a very difficult process. Students would write ‘I…’ and nothing more came out.” After that, they were allowed to discuss in groups. Although none had a sufficient knowledge of English, some unexpectedly accurate suggestions emerged from time to time. On the last stage, they completed their writings with the peers' feedback and the one-to-one writing conference with the teacher. Lee analyzed the collected data, her notes, and the students’ written pieces. The outcome was significant. “The participating students showed clear improvements in both their confidence and their actual capacity for English writing,” remarked Lee. Students, who at the start stopped at inserting English words into the slots of the corresponding Korean words, started to be aware of the change in verb tenses, the English word order, and even of the appropriate uses of the ing-verb form and to-verb form. "I wish my beloved students would grow up to be ones that are recognized for their ability and loved for their personality." Lee clearly remembers the simultaneously growing confidence of her students. They often said, "I was afraid of English writing before – now, I feel like I can manage. I’m not scared anymore." She projects that the translation method could bring about a meaningful effect, especially in the English classrooms in Korea. For this, a follow-up study is being conducted; this time, however, the study will target students at a higher English proficiency. Lee says her aim is to build an EFL education model for Koreans. “Although having English-proficiency is important in Korean, most Korean EFL classes do not have a teaching method specifically adjusted for Korean students. Thus, many Koreans are troubled with learning. This study is meaningful in that it sets the first stepping stone toward developing a Korean-specific EFL teaching method, especially for those who are the most marginalized inside the classes.” Lim Ji-woo Photos by Kang Cho-hyun

2018-10 29

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] New Technology of Patterning the Perovskite

Have you ever seen the integrated circuit in your device? A part of it, which resembles a tiny wafer, is called wafer. Before coming to be a part of our smartphones, laptops, and televisions, the wafer goes under a complex set of procedures, one step of which is lithography, also known as patterning. As the name suggests, lithography is imprinting patterns on a clean film or substrate. The traditional way of doing this is called photolithography, which, simply put, involves placing a photoresist mask with the pattern on top of the wafer and shooting a UV light so that the pattern is etched onto the wafer. However, there exists a problem with this method. In the field of solar cell and Light Emitting Diode (LED), a material that has been under spotlight for many years for its overpowering efficiency is named perovskite. However, this material is extremely unstable when met with water. Thus, in order to use it, it needs to be surrounded by polymer to make a composite. The problem lies in that the composite is almost impossible to stabilize and pattern using the traditional photolithography. Nevertheless, Professor Kang Young-jong (Department of Chemistry) made this possible, inventing a new patterning technique called, Size-exclusion lithography. A diagram of Perovskite and Size-exclusion lithography (Photo courtesy of Kang) What is Size-exclusion lithography? What Kang did was coat the wafer with a mixture of two materials, polymer and perovskite. When the wafer is shot with UV light, polymer as well as perovskite nanoparticles are created. The polymer starts to entangle in a chain shape, called a polymer mesh. It first increases in size but soon starts shrinking – on the other hand, perovskite nanoparticles become larger. Consequently, the nanoparticle escapes the polymer mesh and re-arranges itself, arriving at a phenomena called Size-expansion. Using this phenomena, Kang was able to make the pattern arrange by itself on the wafer, without the need of photolithography. This new technology is significant in many ways. First of all, what was deemed impossible (patterning of perovskite composite) was made possible. Also, since the process of etching is no longer necessary, the wafer-making process will be simpler. Moreover, when it comes to stability, the perovskite composite can edure a full day dipped in boiling water, as it had previously lost its function after only a couple of hours, mid-air. Kang Young-jong (Department of Chemistry) invented a new technology with better stability and a simpler process through this research. The remaining task Although a significant discovery, Kang says there are many more hurdles to jump over for an actual device to be complete. For that reason, there was recently a joining of a professor specializing in such a field, and the team is working together on developing LED using perovskite, ultimately leading to a completion of an actual device. Kang evaluates this finding as “ultimately, a contribution to the development of LED.” Kang gains the energy to keep on researching from his various hobbies. He enjoys the final outcome of a continuation of a hard process, and the future for his research seems bright. Lim Ji-woo Photos by Park Geun-hyung

2018-09 23

[Academics]Big Data Suggests a New Paradigm in Social Problem Solving

The first time Google attempted at predicting the outbreaks of flu using big data, the result was a failure. In their second attempt, however, by collaborating with social scientists, they produced a successful result. This particular incident shows the importance of fusion research. Professor Cha Jae-hyuk (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) and his team also stand on this point through their research in big data-based real-time social environment monitoring and simulation system development. The aim of the research was to combine the traditional social science and big data process technology to allow new insights of social problems. Cha Jae-hyuk (Department of Computer Science and Engineering), September 22, at Office of Information and Communications Technology Services. Today’s society forms one big network in which big data plays a crucial role in organizing complex social problems. Among these, Cha focused on three social problems. First, he studied the relationship between the welfare for the disabled and the mobility of the disabled. Big data processing made it possible to keep track of the mobility pattern of the disabled and the entailing satisfaction towards life. Cha found that it is how many places they visit, not how far they travel, that determines their satisfaction. This discovery will help suggest new and better paradigm in welfare for the disabled when it comes to their transportation. Second, he studied the response of the government and the society to the infectious diseases. Through five mediums of news, he found that for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the official response of the government and that of the society were vastly different. With more data, Cha intends to use it as an evaluation tool for later responses. Last, Cha collected the data via social networking sites about how the anxiety in the society changes depending on time and region. He tried to look into its relationship with the social problems and found slight changes in the public sentiment. With further data, Cha plans to relate it with social problems such as suicide rate. Cha advised to be interested in the convergence with other disciplines and in new keywords. Cha anticipates that the combination of social science and big data technology could help draw more accurate interpretation of the social phenomena. In this regard, the research means more than the result itself. More importantly, it shows a hopeful prospect of the fusion research. Cha believes the three studies have shown that synergy effect of the fusion research can bring better results and solve bigger problems. As he suggests, fusion research “can be the new strength” in our society. For that reason, Cha has set two goals. One is to establish a data processing system integration platform. The platform will be open to anyone to freely access the research results and reenact using the program. Another goal is to suggest a fusion research methodology of how the usage of fusion research may bring out a better result. This is why Cha also encourages the students of Hanyang to engage themselves in the fusion research as well. “Take an active interest in converging with other disciplines.” Cha advises, “be interested in, participate in, and listen to the other newly appearing keywords in our society.” Lim Ji-woo Photos by Lee Jin-myung