Council on Academic Computing

January 19, 2005

Meeting Summary

Pennsylvania Cyber Security Commercialization Initiative

Ray Hoare, from the Department of Electrical Engineering, discussed his participation in the Pennsylvania Cyber Security Commercialization Initiative (PaCSCI).  The PaCSCI program was designed to support university student teams as they commercialize their products and ideas. Participating students are supported financially from the conceptual phase, when their cyber-security ideas are hatched, to the research and development phase, when their product or idea is refined.  If the product or idea is successful, the program helps the students form a Pennsylvania-based company.

Professor Hoare leads a team of students at the University of Pittsburgh.  Their project focuses upon virus protection and “network immunization.”  Current virus protection, which is software-based, provides insufficient security because virus definitions are updated too slowly.  All computers within a network will become infected if a single computer within the network becomes infected.  Professor Hoare recommends immunizing computers collectively, i.e., at the level of the network.  His group is looking for cost-effective and efficient solutions to this problem that can be embedded within switches and routers.  Professor Hoare’s powerpoint presentation describes the project in greater detail.

Report from Computing Services and Systems Development

Jinx Walton, Director of Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), discussed general CSSD operations: 

  • The University’s voice messaging system – Audix – will be upgraded in March.  The upgrade will primarily benefit faculty and staff.
  • A new teleconferencing service has been established.  The service uses on-demand conferencing technology, so conference calls can be held without advance notice.
  • The University’s e-mail software will be upgraded.  The usual service period during which e-mail is offline will be extended to complete the upgrade.
  • CSSD is offering its spam and virus e-mail filtering service to departments.  The service previously had been available to individuals only.
  • CSSD is investigating whether a campus-wide wireless network can be established.  Some localized wireless networks have been established for students.


Other issues were also addressed:

  • Future speakers for the Council’s speakers program.
  • A second program on modeling and simulation.
  • Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence