Join us in Santa Barbara, CA for the ACTION AI Institute's first annual review and knowledge expo.

The two-day event will take place between Henley Hall and the Mosher Alumni House on the UCSB campus.  Find pertinent information below and check back regularly. We will be updating this page as the agendas continue to formalize. Last schedule update was Wednesday, 19 June 2024. 

Registration for the event ended 1 June 2024. All registrants will receive updates via email as we near the event date. Note that many hotel block rates expired in mid-late May. 

Please contact Tim Robinson by email <> or by phone <805-893-3510> for additional information. 

UCSB Henley Hall and Mosher Alumni House

June 20: Program Review

Time in Henley, room 1010  in Henley, room 1002
7:30am Continental Breakfast 
8:00am Greetings and Introductions
- Institute Director Giovanni Vigna, UCSB
 - CPO Dan Cosley
 - Site Visit Team (SVT)
 - Other key personnel
8:20am ACTION Institute Overview
Giovanni Vigna
9:00am Research Program by Thrust, Part 1
 - AI-1: Bo Li, U Chicago
 - AI-2: Ming Yin, Purdue
 - AI-3: Jie Gao, Rutgers
 - AI-4: Radha Poovendran, U Washington
10:15am Break
10:30am Research Program by Thrust, Part 2
 - SEC-1: Dongyan Xu, Purdue
 - SEC-2: Chris Kruegel, UCSB
 - SEC-3: Nick Feamster, U Chicago
 - SEC-4: Wenke Lee, Georgia Tech
11:45am  Lightning Talks -- Poster Introductions  Site Visit Team (SVT) 
 Executive session
12:30pm Lunch and student posters
1:30pm ACTION's Strategic Impact
Nurturing/growing the next generation of talent
 - Broadening participation and diversity
 - Multidisciplinary integration and community building
 - Multi-organizational synergies/achievements
 - Knowledge transfer
 - ACTION as a nexus point for collaboration
2:30pm Break
2:45pm  ACTION External Evaluation Plan  SVT meets with Student 
 Advisory Council (SAC)
3:30pm DHS/CISA and ACTION Integration  SVT meets with University
4:00pm  ACTION Team Building  SVT meets with Institute
 Partners and EAB
4:30pm Break
4:45pm PI/Co-PI Internal Session  Final Day 1 Executive
5:45pm SVT Presentation to Institute Team
6:15pm Dinner (on own)

June 21: Knowledge Expo

Time Event Location
7:30am Continental Breakfast Henley Hall Foyer
8:00am NSF + ACTION PI Discussion Henley Hall 1010
10:00am Break 
(SVT to Mosher Hall for report writing)
Henley Hall Foyer
10:15am Impacts of AI and Cybersecurity on State Legislature Henley Hall 1010
11:00am Keynote Presentation: William Wang Henley Hall 1010
12:00pm Discussion:  Education and Broadening Participation at the intersection of AI and Security
Moderated by Giovanni Vigna and Tim Robinson, UCSB
Henley Hall 1010
12:30pm Lunch and Student Posters Henley Hall Foyer
1:30pm Breakout Session 1  

A: Learning and Reasoning with Domain Knowledge
Moderated by Bo Li, U Chicago

Henley Hall 1010

B: Strategic Gaming and Tactical Planning
(Cyber Games and adversarial modeling)
Moderated by Joao Hespanha, UCSB

Mosher House: Alumni Hall
2:15pm Reconvene and Review Henley Hall 1010
2:30pm Breakout Session 2  
  C: Human-Agent and Agent-Agent Collaboration
Moderated by Ambuj Singh, UCSB

Henley Hall 1010


D: Intelligent Agents Across the Cyber Security Lifecycle
Moderated by Gang Wang, UIUC

Mosher House: Alumni Hall
3:15pm Reconvene and Review Henley Hall 1010
3:30pm Break Henley Hall Foyer
3:45pm Breakout Session 3 Henley Hall 1010
  E: GATE and building agent-based applications
Moderated by Berkay Celik, Purdue
5:00pm Final Remarks and Looking to the Future Henley Hall 1010

Posters & Lightning Talks

  1. SafeDecoding: Defending against Jailbreak Attacks via Safety-Aware Decoding -- Fengqing Jiang, U Washington
  2. ArtPrompt: ASCII Art-based Jailbreak Attacks against Aligned LLMs -- Fengqing Jiang, U Washington
  3. Evolving AI Collectives Enhance Human Diversity and Enable Self-Regulation -- Yujin Potter, UC Berkeley
  4. SAT-Solving Capability of Transformers -- Leyan Pan, Georgia Tech
  5. Differentially Private Range Queries with Correlated Input Perturbation -- Prathamesh Dharangutte, Rutgers
  6. Efficient Streaming Algorithms for Structural Balance in Massive Social Networks -- Vikrant Ashvinkumar, Rutgers
  7. Asymptotic Truth Learning in a Social Network -- Kevin Lu, Rutgers
  8. Optimally Improving Cooperative Learning in a Social Setting -- Cheng Xin Rutgers
  9. Discovering Adversarial Maneuvers against Autonomous Vehicles -- Ozgur Ozmen, Purdue
  10. Malware Language Processing (MLP): An AI-based paradigm for malware binary analysis, classification, and detection -- Solomon Sonya, Purdue
  11. ServeFlow: A Fast-Slow Model Architecture for Network Traffic Analysis -- Shinan Liu, U Chicago
  12. SAIN: Improving ICS Attack Detection Sensitivity via State-Aware Knowledge -- Ozgur Ozmen, Purdue
  13. Code-Data Separation for Non-standard Binaries -- Hadjer Benkraouda, U Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  14. DEEPCAPA: Identifying Malicious Capabilities in Windows Malware -- Saastha Vasan, UC Santa Barbara
  15. Optimal Classification-based Anomaly Detection: Theory & Practice -- Tian-Yi Zhou, Georgia Tech
  16. Globally Accessible Test Environment (GATE) Attacks and Defense Agents -- Doguhan Yeke, Purdue
  17. GATE: Infrastructure for testing -- Jizhou Chen, UC Santa Barbara

Knowledge Expo Keynote

Photo of William Wang

Unveiling Hidden Vulnerabilities: Exploring Shadow Alignment and Weak-to-Strong Jailbreaking in Large Language Models

William Wang
Professor of Computer Science
UC Santa Barbara


In the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence, ensuring the safety and alignment of large language models (LLMs) has become paramount. Despite extensive efforts to align these models against malicious use, recent studies reveal unsettling vulnerabilities undermining their safety. This talk includes our two recent studies that expose and examine these vulnerabilities.

We will first introduce the concept of Shadow Alignment, highlighting how safely-aligned LLMs can be subverted with minimal effort. By tuning on just 100 malicious examples with a single GPU hour, these models can generate harmful content while retaining their capability to respond appropriately to benign inquiries. Experiments across various models, including LLaMa-2, Falcon, InternLM, BaiChuan2, and Vicuna, demonstrate the effectiveness of this attack, raising alarms about the robustness of current alignment strategies.

Building on this, the second paper explores the Weak-to-Strong Jailbreaking attack, revealing a novel method to exploit aligned LLMs. This attack leverages smaller, unsafe models to guide the jailbreak of significantly larger models, such as using a 7B model to compromise a 70B model. The method involves minimal computation and latency, exposing a previously unnoticed yet efficient vulnerability. The study underscores the urgent need for improved defense mechanisms, proposing an initial strategy while acknowledging the challenges in creating advanced defenses.

Together, these studies serve as a clarion call for the AI community to rethink and fortify the safety measures of LLMs. This talk will provide an in-depth analysis of these vulnerabilities, demonstrate the implications through empirical evidence, and discuss potential strategies to safeguard against such attacks. Join us as we navigate the complexities of AI safety, striving for more robust and resilient language models in the face of emerging threats.

Lodging Information

There are a number of hotels near UCSB. If your university has a travel software platform, then you can run a search for available rooms. UCSB's zip code is 93106. Downtown Santa Barbara is 93101. Here are results from a search using a University of California account in Concur.

Below are some nearby hotels where we have set up group blocks. We are happy to call other hotels to set up additional blocks or request more rooms. 

Note that none of these hotels offer shuttles anymore. This has been the case since the COVID Pandemic began.

UCSB Club and Guest House

UCSB Faculty Club and Guest House

401 Storke Rd, Goleta, CA 93117
0.7 miles from venue; 14 minute campus walk
Phone: (805) 893-7000
Call hotel with Conf #7069
Room block name: ACTION AI Institute
Price: $232/night
Check-in date: 6/19/2024 
Checkout date: 6/21/2024


South Coast Inn

South Coast Inn – Best Western Plus

5620 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
4 miles from venue.
Phone: (805) 967-3200
Booking URL
Room block/event name: ACTION INSTITUTE
Price: $199/Sun-Thur; $289/Fri-Sat
Check-in allowed: 6/18/2024
Checkout date: 6/21/2024
Reserve by 26 May

Goleta Courtyard Marriott

Goleta Courtyard Marriott

401 Storke Rd, Goleta, CA 93117
2.5 miles from venue
Phone: (805) 968-0500
Alt phone: 1-800-228-9290
Booking URL
Room block/event name: UCSB ACTION Institute
Price: $299/night
Check-in date: 6/19/2024 
Checkout date: 6/21/2024

Reserve by 22 May

Downtown Courtyard Marriott

Downtown SB Courtyard Marriott

1601 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
9.5 miles from venue
Phone: (805) 968-0500
Room block/event name: ACTION AI Institute
Price: $299/night; $399 Fri/Sat
Check-in date: 6/19/2024 
Checkout date: 6/21/2024

Reserve by 24 May

Hilton Garden Inn

Hilton Garden Inn Goleta

6878 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117
3.0 miles from venue
Phone: (805) 562-5996
Room blockname: ACTION
Price: $249/night
Check-in date: 6/19/2024 
Checkout date: 6/21/2024<9/>

Reserve by 31 May

The Leta Hotel

The Leta Santa Barbara Goleta

5650 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
4 miles from venue
Phone: 805-964-6241
Room block name: ACTION AI Institute
Price: $214-234/night
Check-in date: 6/19/2024 
Checkout date: 6/21/2024

Book by 6 May


By air

  • Santa Barbara has a quaint airport (SBA), located minutes away from UCSB and the listed hotels.
  • Airlines that serve SBA are Alaska, American, United, Southwest, and Delta.
  • Additional flights are available via LAX, or via Hollywood Airport in Burbank. Santa Barbara is just over 100 miles from each of these airports. 
  • The Santa Barbara Airbus is a convenient way to get to UCSB from LAX for those who do not wish to rent a car. The airbus is inexpensive and offers WiFi. 



By car

  • If driving to Santa Barbara (perhaps via rental car from LAX), please email for help in securing a parking pass for campus. 
  • UCSB offers parking reciprocity for faculty from other UC campuses. UC Berkeley faculty should be able to use their parking passes when visiting UCSB. Note that you will need to apply for reciprocity, and approval might take a few days. 
  • Park in Lot 12 or Lot 14 if you have been given a VIP pass. If you need to purchase a pass, park in Lot 18.  



Around Santa Barbara

  • Uber and Lyft make getting around Santa Barbara easy. There are also taxis. Gold Cab is a trusted cab service (Tel: 805-681-9000).
  • Organizers anticipate being able to carpool to group events, like dinners and other activities. 


The conference provides a continental breakfast and lunch on June 20 and June 21. Santa Barbara offers a high number of nice restaurants per capita. Here are a few of our favorite places to consider for dinner. None of them have any affiliation with ACTION.

Something for Everyone

  • Santa Barbara Public Market is the perfect location for a large group unable to decide on a single cuisine. The market has open seating between a variety of excellent restaurants.


  • Pizzeria Da Michele offers wood-fired pizzas and classic pasta dishes. 
  • Olio e Limone, also in downtown Santa Barbara, was the venue for the ACTION Institute's SIP retreat dinner. 
  • Olio Pizzeria, another pizza joint, is adjacent to Olio e Limone.
  • Ca Dario is a long-standing Italian restaurant with locations in downtown Santa Barbara and Goleta, near the Hilton Garden Inn. 
  • Bettina is another one of the best, local Italian restaurants; but you'll need a reservation.


  • Los Arroyos is a Santa Barbara classic, with locations downtown and Goleta, near the Leta and the South Coast Inn.
  • Los Agaves is another SB classic, and also with locations downtown and in Goleta.
  • Carlitos is similar to Los Arroyos and Los Agaves, but is a little higher-end.
  • Flor de Maiz is another popular Mexican restaurant. They have a great location near the beach.
  • Freebirds Burritos, are world famous. This is the original location, still in operation. 
  • Corazon Comedor specializes in Mexican breakfasts. Perhaps stop by on Saturday morning?


  • Barbareno is well-known Santa Barbara restaurant with a unique, memorable menu. 
  • The Lark is always happening, located in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone. 
  • Mesa Verde has an entirely vegan menu. 
  • Milk and Honey is a popular place for tapas.


  • The Palace Grill offers memorable food in a fun environment. Make a reservation, and be sure to order the bread pudding for dessert. 



  • Arigato Sushi and Edomasa Sushi are two very popular sushi restaurants. But honestly, you can't go wrong with sushi in this town. Santa Barbara is famous for its uni.
  • Meet Up has been regarded by many as one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in town. 
  • Sama Sama, serves South East Asian dishes family style, and delicious.

Burgers and Beer

  • Topa Topa Brewery has a great tap room and some local bites.
  • Mesa Burger offers hand crafted burgers with a flair for gourmet.
  • The Habit is a national burger chain that started in Santa Barbara (and tastes better here, too). 


More things to do

And with all of the great restaurants to sample, you might want to stay in Santa Barbara through the weekend. What will you do after the ACTION ends?

  • Take a walking wine tour in SB's Funk Zone or visit the Santa Ynez Valley.
  • Stop in at the Red Piano for some live entertainment.
  • Soho also has live entertainment seven nights a week, and great food, too!
  • Visit to a club or micro-brewery in downtown Santa Barbara.
  • Head to the beach.
  • Go for a hike at Lizard Mouth, Cold Springs Trail, or Toro Canyon Park (easy trails with great views).
  • Find more at the Santa Barbara website.