Angela Chen is currently a student at the University of Michigan, pursuing a master of science in computer science and engineering. Her interests include software systems, networking and computation. She is fascinated by the different practical approaches and applications in the field. She hopes to expose herself to different fields of research to gain as much knowledge and experience as she can. Along with pursuing her long-term goals in computer science, Angela enjoys sketching, hiking, education, playing jazz music on the violin and volunteering in outreach programs.
Project: Exploring Methods of Visualizing Binaries of Files
Information is evolving faster than we can keep up with. New data and file formats are emerging, and our tools have to constantly play catch-up to support these. There are no great ways of analyzing their information independent of structure. Currently, most file analyses have been through observing the hex editors, disassembler and debuggers. The hex data shows an exact representation of the data, but it is very complex and difficult to deal with info this way.
Humans are naturally very good at processing spatial information. We can analyze a file’s binary much faster if we are able to translate it into a visual representation. Given the binary information of a file, we explored different ways to translate it into 2D/3D spatial information independent of file type. This is very useful in scenarios that require low-level analysis such as locating malicious code within files, locating and extracting hidden content or metadata or finding keys and passwords.
Favorite 3-Color 2D Totalistic Cellular Automaton
I chose rule 781785039. It displays fascinating box fractal behavior. It divides into nine equal parts, and the five diagonal parts remain to create an anticross stitch. Then the pieces fuse to become a single box. This gives an interesting cascading fission effect.