Tech stands up new cyber center
Louisiana Tech and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge have established a new cyber technology center in Ruston — the Center for Secure Cyberspace.
Installing the center in the piney woods 60 miles east of Barksdale Air Force Base, a site under consideration for the Air Force Cyber Command, is no coincidence, said Tech Vice President for Research and Development Les Guice.
The CSC’s intended purpose is to support the U.S. Air Force’s research goals in cyberspace, and Tech faculty pursued it as a way to enhance the university’s ability to support its research, as well as AFCyber should it permanently land in Louisiana, Guice said.
Scholars who have more than 800 national publications, as well as numerous grants and projects, are heading up the center. Funding for the center — a whopping $8 million — came half-and-half from the Louisiana Board of Regents and the two universities. Faculty include Tech’s Vir Phoha, Kody Varahramyan, Rastko Selmic and Christian Duncan, while LSU has pitched in Peter Chen, S.S. Iyengar, Gabrielle Allen and Tevfik Kosar. Guice said eight additions are also forthcoming — two new faculty at Tech and LSU, as well as four post-doctoral researchers. The center’s role to buffer the Air Force’s strength is vastly important, Guice said.
“We are all secure because the U.S. Air Force has the ability to dominate air and space — thank goodness that we are able to stay ahead in sophisticated aircraft and weaponry,” Guice said. “But there is a recognition that there is a new combat domain that has emerged in recent years. That is cyber domain, or cyber space. It is equally important that the U.S. be dominant in that domain if we are to protect our citizens against foreign threats.”
The Air Force defines cyberspace as everything from networks to computers to electronics to the entire electromagnetic spectrum, Guice said, including all sorts of ways for transmitting information wirelessly, like a person’s cellular phone.
Computers are the backbone of the current economy, which should make everyone wary, Guice said. “I should note that threats to our computers and networks and information systems can also occur from vandals or pranksters,” Guice said. “The impacts on our economy are enormous. So, many of the things that our researchers develop can have civilian or military applications.”
Selmic said some of Tech’s research, supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory, involves deployment, coverage control and control of wireless sensor networks.
“(We) study how to optimally position and deploy a large number of sensors to cover an area of interest, while providing extensive coverage of specific targets,” Selmic said.
“Results will also affect numerous civilian applications such as chemical agent monitoring, weather and hurricane tracking and monitoring … and even broader problems in operations research.”
The Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, the state’s fiber-optic computing grid, also plays a role in the center’s work, Guice said. Invitations are flying nationwide for a workshop scheduled for this fall. Tech and LSU have issued a call for papers to have some of the top cyberspace researchers in the country attend, Guice said.
Originally Published August 8, 2007 by:
The Ruston Daily Leader // Nick Todaro, Reporter