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Michel Kinsy in a light blue button-down shirt and unbutton navy blazer leans against a railing inside the Zachry Engineering Education Complex.
Along with an appointment at Texas A&M University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Michel Kinsy will also serve as associate director of the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Dr. Michel Kinsy has joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University this semester as an associate professor. With expertise in cybersecurity and a focus on important engineering and computational problems, he will also serve as associate director of the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center.

“Cybersecurity incidents are happening at an astonishing frequency, scale and sophistication,” Kinsy said. “The center being part of The Texas A&M University System has access to tremendous resources that are almost unmatched anywhere else in the country – chief among them the sheer number and caliber of faculty members engaged in cybersecurity research, coupled with the deep-rooted culture of academic excellence and service among the student body.”

As associate director, he hopes to develop the center’s technical research and development enterprise alongside interim director Dr. Danny Davis. Their goal is to accelerate the center’s ascension to becoming the premier academic destination for government agencies and industry entities looking for ahead-of-the-curve solutions for their cybersecurity needs, and for students interested in hands-on cybersecurity training.

“There is a level of research that you can engage in at Texas A&M that is not readily available in most departments around the country, or in the world for that matter,” Kinsy said.

Kinsy’s core area of research is computer architecture. He is especially interested in discovering and creating the set of definitions, methodologies and hardware primitives that enable the integrity checking of computing processes, the access control and monitoring of system resources, and hardware root-of-trust solutions for secure computation – something he calls “Design for Security.”

Another central aspect of Kinsy’s research efforts is the translation of basic engineering discoveries into applicable solutions. In fact, he is one of only a handful of secure systems researchers who can claim that their academic hardware designs have been directly incorporated into commercial and military systems.

As he starts his career at Texas A&M, Kinsy urges engineering undergraduate students to embrace more mathematics courses, such as number theory, discrete mathematics, logic and linear algebra early on in their academic careers – even students focusing on hardware.

“Although I am a hardware researcher, these courses form the foundation of my engineering thinking process and my cybersecurity problem-solving methodology,” he said. “The cybersecurity field is moving toward security through proofs and not merely by construction due to ever-increasing complexity of our computing systems. The main challenge is that if you are not exposed to these courses in a substantial way early on in your academic training, by the time you really need them or use them it is often too late.”

Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center

The Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center is dedicated to combating adversaries who desire to harm our citizens, our government and our industry through cyber-attacks. The center seeks to advance the collective cybersecurity knowledge, capabilities and practices, doing so through ground-breaking research, novel and innovative cybersecurity education, and mutually beneficial academic governmental and commercial partnerships. Working with researchers, faculty and industry leaders, the center stands committed to making outsized contributions to social good through the development of transformational cybersecurity capabilities.