The University of Florida recently unveiled a new resource for the design, development and testing of state-of-the-art IoT systems: The Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World. Named in honor of UF ECE alumnus Warren B. Nelms, a New Engineer who built his own solar “smart” house where he raised his children – who both went on to become UF engineers as well, the new institute will work closely with FICS Research faculty to integrate comprehensive security considerations into all design efforts. Additional faculty in ECE along with other engineering departments will contribute their established leadership in IoT research and enabling technologies, including those in the Multi-Functional Integrated System Technology Center (MIST), and Collaboration to Enable Transnational Cyberinfrastructure Applications (CENTRA).
Both Dr. Daniela Oliveira, FICS Research Diversity Director, and new ECE acquisition but long-time FICS collaborator Dr. Yier Jin, known for his work exposing vulnerabilities in “smart” thermostats and over 100 other commercial IoT devices, will receive a term professorship within the institute. Among the primary goals of the institute will be to design, develop and test state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT) systems, as well as to explain existing IoT vulnerabilities and outline plans for a more secure, connected world.
The institute is supported by a recent $5 million gift from Warren Nelms’ son, who is currently the Chairman and CEO of Discover Financial Services, and daughter-in law -David and Daryl Nelms. Another UF ECE alumnus and Japanese telecommunications mogul, Sachio Semmoto, also contributed a $1.5 million gift in July to establish a term professorship within the institute.
“My vision for the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World is that UF will become one of the leading places anywhere for educating the best and brightest engineers to securely connect all the world’s devices,” said David Nelms, chairman and CEO of Discover Financial Services and a mechanical engineering alumnus. “UF will become a magnet for attracting people like my dad, engineers who can dream big and create a future that most people can’t imagine.”
“We are enormously grateful for this generous gift from the Nelms family, and what it will mean for future generations,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “A number of universities are working with IoT, but I believe we will be among the first with an institute dedicated to the connected world in all of its forms, including the security of the Internet of Things and the safety of future technologies.”