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[Computer Science courtyard]

School of Computer Science

Picture of Ning Dr. Ning Zhang, BSc (Wireless Communications, Dalian Marine University), PhD (Electronic Engineering, University of Kent).

Contact Details

School of Computer Science,
University of Manchester,
2.113 Kilburn Building,
Oxford Road, MANCHESTER,
M13 9PL, UK.
Voice: +44 (0) 161 275 6117
Fax:   +44 (0) 161 275 6204
Web: http://www.cs.manchester.ac.uk/~nzhang.

I specialise in Communication & Computer Networks and Network/Distributed System Security.

Research Interests

My research interests are in computer networks, mobile computing and security and privacy in networked environments.

Over the years, I have supervised projects in the following areas:

  • Design of security solutions and protocols for networked/distributed applications, including multi-factor authentication, context-aware access control and trust management.
  • E-/M-commerce security: the protection of important electronic documents such as contracts and bank records, transported over networks, against false denial of their transmission or reception; secure signing of contracts over networks to prevent any fraud; designing protocols and mechanisms for secure payments to support networked multimedia information distribution.
  • Composition of communication protocols, such as those for authentication and access control, to accomplish secure inter-operations among different systems on networks.
  • Security in mobile/ubiquitous computing: the designs of security framework, architectures and protocols suited to mobile communication and ubiquitous computing environments.
  • Quality of Service (QoS) provisioning in communication networks, including mobile ad hoc networks, integrated wired and wireless IP networks, and sensor networks.

I am currently an academic member of the Information Management Group (IMG). Here gives some of my Security Research Activities. I was previously an academic member of the Mobile System Architecture (MSA) Group. More research activities/interests of the previous group can be found at MSA Group Research Activities. In addition, I am also a member of the E-Science North West (ESNW) Centre working on e-Grid Security, and a member of the e-Security Centre - a collaborative venture between the Universities of Manchester and Kent.

I serve as an external examiner for some of the MSc Programmes in Computer Science at the University of Hull and University College Dublin.

I have served as an International Peer Reviewer for the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (the PRTLI Programme) in Ireland.

I also serve as an associate editor for the Communication System and Security Track of the JIPS (Journal of Information Processing Systems), published by Korea Information Processing Society; since 2009; an editor for the journal: Journal of Information Assurance and Security (JIAS) , and a general co-chair of the Third International Symposium on Information Assurance and Security (IAS07). I was also a co-chair of the LoA-RG (Authentication Levels of Assurance - Research Group) of the OGF (Open Grid Forum).

Recent publications are here.

Recent Grants/External Funded Research Projects and Activities

FIDES Project funded under the EPSRC/DTI MI Programme: Principle Investigator; Grant Duration: 36 months (01/01/2002-31/12/2004); Total Grant Value: 743,824 (191,824 to this University, and 552,000 to our industrial partner); Funding Body: EPSRC/DTI (LINK, GR/R55177).

The FAME-Permis (Flexible Access Middleware Extensions to Permis) project is funded under the Core Middleware Programme by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC); one of the Principle Investigators; collaboratively undertaken by the University of Manchester and the University of Kent; Project duration: 01/01/2005 31/12/2006; Total grant value: 161,621. For more details on this project, click this link: FAME-PERMIS.

CLEF-Services (Clinical E-Science Framework II) project is led by Professor Alan Rector, and funded by MRC (Medical Research Council); Project duration: 01/01/2005 31/12/2007. The project is a continuation of the CLEF project. I am involved in Security and Privacy aspects of the project. For more details on this project along with other e-Science projects, click this link: E-Science Projects.

Manchester StMary Hospital Genetic Lab Pilot Project: I do consultancy work to this project - responsible for designing, and supervising the implementation of, identity pseudonym mechanisms to facilitate genetic data sharing without compromising patients' privacy.

SHEBANGS: Shibboleth Enabled Bridge to Access the National Grid Service; jointly with Stephen Pickles; November, 2005 November, 2006; 39,940 funded by JISC.

The ES-LoA (E-infrastructure Security: Levels of Assurance) project: I am the Principal Investigator and Project Manager of this project. Co-investigators are Prof Carole Goble, Prof. Alan Rector, and Stephen Pickles and Ross MacIntyre from Manchester Computing; November, 2006 November, 2007; 160,000 funded by JISC.

A Pilot Electronic Multi-Agency Information Sharing (MAIS) System for Mentally Disordered Offenders; in collaboration with Dr J. Senior from Ashworth Hospital; 1st Jan 2009 31st Dec 2010 (duration 24 months); 364,783 funded by NHS National Institute for Health Research.

Smart Grid Security: On the use of cryptography for modifying metered energy consumption data in order to protect user privacy. This is an EPSRC Industrial CASE Studentship Award in collaboration with Toshiba Research Europe Limited. The project duration is 3.5 years started in July 2011. More details for this project is available here, Smart Grid Security.

For more details on these and other projects, click this link: External Funded Research Projects.

Research opportunities

If you are interested in carrying out research in one of the above areas then you can apply to the School for PhD study. Students with an excellent undergraduate record will be considered for funding. You are welcome to contact me (via ning.zhang@manchester.ac.uk) for informal discussions.

Currently Supervised Research Students/Projects:

  • Sadia Saleem Cheema - Efficient and Secure Collaborative Downloading (PhD).
  • Adel Binbusayyis - Context-Aware Access Control in Cloud Computing (PhD).
  • Gabriel Sanchez Bautista - Achieving Privacy in Cloud Computing (PhD).
  • Amina Gamlo - Security in Cloud Computing (PhD).
  • Ibrahim Lahmer - Cloud Computing Authentication (PhD).
  • Pin Shen Teh - Multi-factor Authentication Using Mobile Devices (PhD).
  • Ayesha Naureen - Wireless Sensor Network Security (PhD).
  • Reem Almarwani - Cloud Security (PhD).
  • Majed Alsayfi - Cloud Security
  • Soontorn Sirapaisan - Cloud Security (PhD).
  • Tahani Aljohani - IoT (Internet of Things) (PhD).

Supervised PhD/MPhil Research Students/Projects:

  • Dr Lisha He - Thesis Title: An Asymmetrical End-to-End Mobile Payment Protocol for M-Commerce (PhD); Awarded 2005.
  • Dr Delia Critchlow - Thesis Title: User Privacy and Accountable Anonymity for M-commerce Transactions; Delia has won the School's 2003 Best Paper Award; Awarded 2005.
  • Dr Aleksandra Nenadic - Thesis Title: A Security Solution for Fair Exchange and Non-repudiation in E-Commerce; Awarded 2005.
  • Dr Omaima Bamasak - Thesis Title: Delegating Signing Power to Mobile Agents: Algorithms and Protocol Designs. Omaima has won the Best Paper Award given by the IEEE Computer Society in the IEEE ISCC04 conference; She has also won the School's 2004 Best Paper Award; Awarded 2006.
  • Dr Ian Featherstone - Thesis Title: Quality of Service in Hybrid Wireless IP Networks; Awarded 2006.
  • Jay Sean Chin - Thesis Title: Context-constrained Authorisation Architecture for Pervasive Grid Computing (MPhil); Awarded 2007.
  • Dr Clara Corzo - Thesis Title: An Agent-based Distributed Workflow-oriented Audit Architecture: a solution to securing inter-bank e-trading transactions; awarded in 2010.
  • Dr Ali Ahmed - Thesis Title: Context-aware Access Control in Ubiquitous Computing, awarded in 2010.
  • Dr Li Yao - Thesis Title: A Structured Approach to Electronic Authentication Assurance Level Derivation; awarded in 2010.
  • Dr Osama Elshakankiry - Thesis Title: Securing Home and Correspondent Registrations in Mobile IPV6 Networks, awarded in 2011, jointly with Dr Andy Carpenter (I am the 2nd supervisor).
  • Dr Naikuo Yang - Thesis Title: Formalism of Privacy Preserving Access Control, awarded in 2011, jointly with Prof. Howard Barringer (I am the 2nd supervisor);
  • Dr Tarek Gaber - Thesis Title: Support Consumers' Rights in DRM: A Secure and Fair Solution to Digital License Reselling over the Internet, awarded in 2012;
  • Dr Mengchang Liu - Thesis Title: Achieving Privacy-preserving Distributed Statistical Computation, awarded in 2012;
  • Dr Kitisak Osathanunkul - Thesis Title: A Cross-Layer and Multi-Metric Routing Decision Making Framework for MANETs, awarded in 2013.
  • Dr Peter McNerney - Thesis Title: Achieving Quality of Service in Mobile Ad Hoc Networks Containing Packet Forwarding Attackers, awarded in 2013.
  • Dr Abdulla Alnajem - Thesis Title: Risk-Linked Security Solutions for Mobile Financial Systems, awarded in 2015.
  • Dr Mustafa Mustafa - Thesis Title: Smart Grid Security: Protecting Users' Privacy in Smart Grid Applications, awarded in 2015.
  • Dr Rima Addas - Thesis Title: Supporting Access to Distributed EPRs (Electronic Patient Records) with Three Levels of Identity Privacy Preservation, awarded in 2015.
  • Dr Helen Bakhsh - Thesis Title: ATL-QoS: An Adaptive Trust-Aware Location-Based Framework for Achieving QoS in MANETs, awarded in 2016.
  • Ahmed Al-Riyami - Thesis Title: Towards an Adaptive Solution to Data Privacy Protection in Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Networks, passed viva with minor corrections in Oct 2016 (PhD).


I teach (or have taught) part or whole of the following UG and PG courses:
  • COMP38411 - Cryptography and Network Security;
  • COMP61421 - Computer and Network Security (MSc);
  • CS6024-Mobile Computing (MSc) and CS20081-Communication and Computer Networks - the modules I used to teach;
  • 1st Yr Tutorial;
  • 2nd Yr Tutorial.

Administrative Duties

  • EA: Admissions Officer (China)
  • PGR: CDT Interview Panel
  • PGT: Theme Leader (Security)
  • Teaching Strategy: 2+2 China prospects
  • UG: 3rd Year Lab Organiser
  • UG: Student Disability Support Coordinator