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Jim Alves-Foss, Ph.D.

Jim Alves-Foss, Ph.D.

University Distinguished Professor, CSDS Director


Janssen 225



Mailing Address

Computer Science Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 1010
Moscow, ID 83844-1010

  • Ph.D, Computer Science, University of California – Davis, 1991
  • M.S., Computer Science, University of California – Davis, 1989
  • B.S., Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, University of California – Davis, 1987

  • Information Assurance
  • Computer Security
  • Formal Methods
  • Design and Analysis of High Assurance Systems
  • Cryptographic Protocol Design
  • Security Policy Engineering
  • Multi-Level Secure Systems
  • MILS Architecture

Dr. Jim Alves-Foss joined the University of Idaho (UI) in Fall of 1991 after receiving his PhD in Computer Science at the University of California, Davis. He taught UIs first cybersecurity course in Spring of 1992. In 1999, he co-founded the Center for Secure and Dependable Systems (CSDS), a research unit in UIs College of Engineering and was appointed co-director of the center. That same year, he helped UI obtain an NSA designation as Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education; one of the first 7 such centers in the nation, and has helped maintain that designation continuously through multiple review cycles. In 2001 he helped the University of Idaho obtain one of the first 5 NSF CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service awards, providing full ride scholarships to students for their final 2 years of a BS degree or MS degree in exchange for service in a federal agency. We have continuously renewed our grant and have graduated over 100 SFS scholars since, receiving $9M from the NSF to sponsor the program. Since 2004, Dr. Alves-Foss has been the sole director of CSDS.

During his tenure he has published over 125 peer reviewed conference and journal papers, primarily in the cybersecurity area. He has mentored 22 PhD students, over 40 MS students and numerous undergraduates to completion. He has also recruited and mentored several junior faculty to help grow UIs cybersecurity program. He has been the lead PI on over 50 funded research projects totaling over $12M to UI. His work has been sponsored by federal agencies including NSF, DoD, and industry. In 2014-2015 he led UIs 2-person team in a DARPA sponsored cybersecurity competition, as the smallest team they placed 2nd in the qualification round, outperforming 100 teams including larger teams from defense contractors and other notable universities. In a hard-fought final round of competition, the team placed 6th out of 7, but only 3% out of 3rd and 10% behind the first-place team. Most recently, Dr. Alves-Foss led the effort to receive Idaho State Board of Education Approval for Idaho’s first Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity, starting Fall 2020.

  • J Alves-Foss, J Song, L Kerr & S Steiner. “Evaluating the Use of Security Tags in Security Policy Enforcement Mechanisms”, Proc. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2015.
  • X Yang, N Sang & J Alves-Foss. “Shortening the Boot Time of Android OS”, Computer, 47 (7), 53-58, 2014.
  • J Song & J Alves-Foss. “Security Tagging for a Zero-Kernel Operating System”, In Proc. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2013.
  • J Alves-Foss & P Oman. “The known unknowns”, IEEE Security & Privacy, 11 (5), 77-79, 2013.
  • J Song & J Alves-Foss. “Hardware Security Tags for Enhanced Operating System Security”, Issues in Information Systems 14 (1), 61-71, 2013.
  • J Weis & J Alves-Foss. “Securing database as a service: Issues and compromises”, IEEE Security & Privacy, 49-55, 2011.
  • J Son & J Alves-Foss. “A formal framework for real-time information flow analysis”, Computers & Security, 28 (6), 421-432, 2009.
  • J Zhou & J Alves-Foss. “Security policy refinement and enforcement for the design of multi-level secure systems”, Journal of Computer Security 16 (2), 107-131, 2008.
  • S Zheng, D Manz & J Alves-Foss. “A communication–computation efficient group key algorithm for large and dynamic groups”, Computer Networks 51 (1), 69-93, 2007.
  • J Alves-Foss, P Oman, C Taylor & WS Harrison. “The MILS architecture for high-assurance embedded systems” International journal of embedded systems 2 (3-4), 239-247, 2006.
  • WS Harrison, N Hanebutte, P Oman & J Alves-Foss. “The MILS architecture for a secure global information grid”, Crosstalk: The Journal of Defense Software Engineering 18 (10), 20-24, 2005.
  • H Lee, J Alves-Foss & WS Harrison. “The use of encrypted functions for mobile agent security”, In Proc. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2004.
  • J Alves-Foss, C Taylor & P Oman. “A multi-layered approach to security in high assurance systems”, In Proc. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2004.
  • R Corin, S Malladi, J Alves-Foss & S Etalle. “Guess What? Here is a New Tool That Finds Some New Guessing Attacks”, In Proc. Workshop on Issues in the Theory of Security, 2003.
  • C Taylor & J Alves-Foss, “An empirical analysis of NATE: Network analysis of anomalous traffic events”, In Proc. Workshop on New Security Paradigms, 18-26, 2002.
  • S Malladi, J Alves-Foss & R Heckendorn. “On preventing replay attacks on security protocols”, Proc. International Conference on Security and Management, 77-83, 2002.
  • C Taylor, A Krings & J Alves-Foss. “Risk analysis and probabilistic survivability assessment (RAPSA): An assessment approach for power substation hardening”, In Proc. ACM Workshop on Scientific Aspects of Cyber Terrorism, 2002.
  • J Alves-Foss. “An Efficient Secure Authenticated Group Key Exchange Algorithm for Large and Dynamic Groups”, In Proc. National Information Systems Security Conference 2000.
  • J Alves-Foss & FS Lam. “Dynamic denotational semantics of Java” in Formal syntax and semantics of Java, ed: J Alves-Foss, Springer, 201-240, 1999.
  • J Alves-Foss. “Multi-protocol attacks and the public key infrastructure”, Proc. 21st National Information Systems Security Conference, 566-576, 1998

  • Idaho Vandal Excellence Award, 2015.
  • Finalist (Team Captain) DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge, 2015.
  • University of Idaho College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award, 2012.
  • University of Idaho College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award, 2007.
  • IEEE Senior Member 2005.
  • University of Idaho College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award, 2000.

Contact Us

Computer Science

Physical Address:
Janssen Engineering Building 236

Mailing Address:

Computer Science
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1010
Moscow, ID 83844-1010

Phone: 208-885-6592

Fax: 208-885-9052


Web: Computer Science