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Computer Science Ph.D. student awarded prestigious Best Paper Award at IEEE Conference

Monday, February 12, 2024

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Image Bhattarai, an Oklahoma State University Department of Computer Science Ph.D. student, was honored with the Best Paper Award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Consumer Communications and Networking Conference in January.  

The paper, “A Lightweight Aggregate Authentication Protocol For Internet Of Drones,” was co-authored by Dr. Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo from the University of Texas at San Antonio and Dr. Cong Pu from OSU’s Department of Computer Science.  

Dr. Cong Pu
Dr. Cong Pu
Image Bhattarai
Image Bhattarai

“The motivation behind this paper stemmed from a deep interest in data privacy, and to identify the gap in existing knowledge regarding lightweight authentication for drones,” Bhattarai said. “We wanted to realize an authentication mechanism that didn’t consume too many resources for the resource-constrained drones.” 

Since 2004, the IEEE CCNC has held its annual conference in Las Vegas. Organized to help develop the consumer technology industry, the conference brings together scholars and researchers from across the world to network and peer review projects.  

Bhattarai explained that the findings within his paper could lead to change in drone technology, improving issues within data privacy among drones.  

“The project has led to an important advancement in drone communication: developing an innovative authentication scheme that not only offers a secure communication between entities but also addresses the unique constraints of drone operations such as limited computational capabilities,” Bhattarai said.  

Creating the “best paper” was no easy feat, according to Bhattarai.  

“There were some challenges we faced,” he said. “One challenge was designing an authentication protocol that was both lightweight and resilient against cyber-attacks while outperforming existing benchmark schemes. However, overall, I think this helped us gain a deeper understanding of drone communication and also led us to innovative thinking.”   

Pu said that Bhattarai’s award was a result of his dedication to cybersecurity and resilience.  

Mr. Bhattarai is a self-driven, intelligent, diligent, and hardworking graduate student. I saw him work so hard daily to achieve this accomplishment, and I can't think of anyone who deserves this best paper award more,” Pu said. “Image continues to impress me with his talent, devotion, love of cybersecurity, and persistence to reach the top.” 

Bhattarai said Pu was essential in earning his award from the IEEE.  

“He has guided me with unparalleled dedication while providing me with constructive criticism of my work,” Bhattarai said. “His feedback was crucial to ensure that our project remained on track and aligned with the current academic standards.” 

As part of OSU President Kayse Shrum’s mission to make OSU the nation’s premier land-grant university, Dr. Pu noted that this award helps elevate OSU. 

“This award recognizes excellence in our original research, innovative thinking, and the quality and impact of our current research work,” Pu said. “Our research contributes to OSU's land-grant mission by conducting cutting-edge and valuable research studies in cybersecurity.”  

Learn more about Bhattarai’s work  here.

Story By: Jade Dudley, CAS Graduate Assistant |

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