University of Maryland

SoDa Seed Grant Series: Correlating Population Demographics with Maryland’s County-Level Critical Infrastructure Vulnerabilities

Date: May 7, 2024

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Location: Zoom

Registration coming soon!
SoDa Seed Grant Award Recipient: Charles Harry, Associate Research Professor, School of Public Policy and College of Information Studies, University of Maryland Industry Expert Guest Speaker: TBD

Abstract: Local government-controlled critical infrastructure relies on computer systems and is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks that can disrupt its operation. This project aims to examine the relationship between cyber vulnerabilities in some critical infrastructure sectors in Maryland counties with available demographic factors to identify potential cyber security disparities across different communities in the state. We will leverage access to publicly available data of scans to infrastructure coupled with demographic data from the U.S. Census to conduct a series of statistical tests to explore the relationships between community characteristics and the levels of potential vulnerability of specific sectors of critical infrastructure. The results of this analysis should test the potential security disparities in counties with lower per capita income or who are home to majority underrepresented communities thereby exposing these to greater strategic cyber risk, and if so by how much. The results of this analysis will serve as an initial examination of the distribution of the potential of strategic vulnerability to community critical infrastructure, and can be used to drive efficient allocation of state resources to improve security of vulnerable populations.

SoDa Seed Grants: The projects under this initiative may address any societal challenge that affects a large number of people, including but not limited to health, public safety, justice, race, gender, education, employment, transit, and political representation.  The goal of these seed grants is to encourage faculty to develop collaborative projects that stimulate the advancement of new ideas that can build the university’s expertise toward a national reputation in the broad area of social data science. The projects blend the development or use of innovative data science methods or new measurements, the advancement of scholarship within or across disciplines, and progress in addressing a societal challenge. 

The SoDa Center at UMD SoDa Symposia highlight the diverse challenges and opportunities in the emerging area of Social Data Science.   Combining insights of SoDa researchers and partners from UMD and around the world, these regular virtual events showcase research and expert commentary about advances and open problems in the use of surveys, administrative, and trace data to understand and shape the social world we live in. Ranging from technical challenges of gathering high-quality data, ethical management of social data at scale, or examples of the power of social data science in education, business, government, or civic life, SoDa Symposia provide an opportunity for a broad audience of researchers, students, and practitioners to learn more about the potential of social data science to change the world.