Three researchers from the Faculty of Informatics involved in Red Hat Research were awarded with the 2021 “MUNI Innovation Award”

Dec 15, 2021 | Europe, Masaryk University, News

Photo credit: Tomáš Škoda

Masaryk University, one of Red Hat’s partner universities, awarded the 2021 “MUNI Innovation Award” at its Business Research Forum on November 11, 2021. These new awards aim at individual students and employees whose outputs have been successfully implemented in practice, have helped improve products or services or have otherwise contributed to increasing the social relevance of Masaryk University’s research activities.

Since this was the very first year of MUNI Innovation Awards, the 2021 awards covered achievements over the last ten years.

The evaluation committee selected and awarded 17 nominations across 10 faculties (schools) at the Masaryk University, including the Faculty of informatics. We are pleased that Red Hat played a role in this initiative, as three of the winners (representatives from the Faculty of Informatics) are involved with Red Hat Research and their winning projects not only contributed to the practical application of knowledge and activities of the Masaryk University, but also advanced open source innovation.

The three awarded individuals or research teams are:

1. Petr Švenda

Research Project: Mining issued Common Criteria and FIPS140-2 certificates
Petr Švenda was recognized for the design of new methodologies for security system analyses and reviews of cryptographic implementations. These enable one to verify the security of newly developed devices and find bugs – thus allowing for their timely correction against misuse.

In 2017, his group found and helped eliminate the most serious cryptographic vulnerabilities in the current electronic ID cards of many European countries and in the security solutions of major IT vendors.

The results of this research led to a change in global certification procedures in the field of digital signature key generation. Petr cooperates with Red Hat researchers on the design and implementation of several open source security certification tools.

Watch Petr’s talk on “Mining Issued Common Criteria and FIPS 140-2 Certificates” that he presented at Red Hat Research Days 2021:

Red Hat Research Days 2021: Mining Issued Common Criteria and FIPS 140-2 Certificates

2. Radek Pelánek

Research project: Adaptive Learning of Programming
Radek Pelánek won the MUNI Innovation Award for research results using machine learning and data processing methods that provided the basis for the design of the learning environment implemented on the website www.umimeto.org. Radek leads the university’s Adaptive Learning Research Group that focuses on the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis in the development of learning environments. Umíme (umimeto.org) is a start-up founded by Petr Jarušek, a former PhD student in the group. Umíme started with a practice of Czech orthography and grammar and now covers the many other subjects (mathematics, English, programming, geography, …). It is now used by more than 10% of Czech schools.

Red Hat currently supports his research with Tomáš Effenberger, a PhD student focusing on introductory programming and computational thinking. His research work concerns the design of exercises (e.g., microworlds for block-based programming) and analysis of data from programming exercises. This research serves as a useful guide for practical development of teaching tools.

Watch Radek’s talk on “Machine learning for improving human learning” that he presented at Red Hat Research Days 2020:

Red Hat Research Days 2020: Machine Learning for improving human learning

3. Milan Brož, Mikuláš Patočka, and Václav Matyáš

Research project: Improving full disk encryption
The team was recognized for their work on Full Disk Encryption (FDE) that has become a widely used security feature. FDE rarely provided cryptographic data integrity protection, so the team introduced an algorithm-agnostic solution that provides both data integrity and confidentiality protection at the disk sector layer.

Their open source solution is intended for drives without any special hardware extensions and is based on per-sector metadata fields implemented in software. Their implementation has been included in the Linux kernel since the version 4.12. Milan did this work as a Brno office Red Hatter and also a PhD student of Vashek Matyáš, with another Red Hatter Mikuláš Patočka contributing mainly with the efficient implementation of the solution.

Watch Milan’s talk on “Improving disk encryption in Linux” that he presented at Red Hat Research Days 2020:

Red Hat Research Days 2020: Improving disk encryption in Linux



Congratulations to all the winners and their achievements! This great success confirms the quality and importance of our collaboration with Masaryk University in open source communities.

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