Causey Represents VMI at iiWAS2019

Aaron Causey ’20 presents his research on “Hybrid Disaster Response System Using Web of Things” at an international cybersecurity conference

Aaron Causey ’20 presents his research on “Hybrid Disaster Response
System Using Web of Things” at an international cybersecurity
conference in Munich, Germany.—Photo courtesy
of Dr. Youna Jung.

In early December, Aaron Causey ’20 quietly racked up a remarkable achievement: becoming the first cadet majoring in computer science at VMI to present his research at an international conference.

Not only that, but Causey was the only undergraduate to present at iiWAS2019, held Dec. 2-4 in Munich, Germany. The conference officially named the 21st International Conference on Information Integration and Web-based Applications & Services, served as a venue for Causey and Dr. Youna Jung, assistant professor of computer science, to share their work on “Hybrid Disaster Response System Using Web of Things.”

Causey and Jung began their work last summer, seeking a non-centralized way for a communications network to be created and sustained in the aftermath of a natural disaster such as a major hurricane or earthquake. The “web of things” is a variation of “Internet of things,” which refers to the ability of appliances, thermostats, and other common devices to be controlled via a smartphone app.

Under the plan that Causey and Jung developed, survivors of a natural disaster would link their phones and other smart devices together into a mobile network for crisis communications.

“There have been disaster response systems, but they’re all very centralized, like government-owned,” explained Causey.

By using cell phones and other internet-enabled devices, he noted, he and Jung were attempting a paradigm shift. “How can we incorporate other devices and extend the resources from just humans?” Causey recalled asking himself.

When he and Jung traveled to Germany, Causey was making his first trip to Europe. Thankfully, all went well, and the conference itself was a resounding success.

“It was very relaxed and low-key,” said Causey. “Everyone was super friendly.”

Causey estimated total attendance at the conference at about 70 to 100 people, with approximately 20 attending his presentation. The questions that came his way afterward were challenging, but not overwhelming.

“People really wanted to know the specifics,” he commented, adding that he and Jung had met many people interested in collaborating with them on the development of the idea. Security, he noted, would need to be improved in order for their idea to be implemented.

With graduation now just a few months away, Causey is looking forward to life after VMI and a move to Richmond, Virginia, where he’ll work as a software engineer for the Timmons Group.

He’s also thankful to have a noteworthy achievement on his resume—and one that few individuals his age could claim. “I’m very, very blessed that VMI allowed me to go and have this experience,” he commented.

 - By Mary Price

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