The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) is at the forefront of the university’s new cybersecurity initiative that aims to stimulate public-private partnerships and address national vulnerabilities, including those facing industry. The new Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) adopts a holistic approach to cybersecurity education, research and technology development, stressing comprehensive, interdisciplinary solutions.
The university’s proximity to the nation’s capital and close interactions with key federal agencies make College Park a unique place for the center. Maryland leads the nation in information technology jobs, and more than half of the nation’s Internet traffic passes through the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats facing the nation, but also one of the greatest opportunities for Maryland universities, businesses and federal labs to work collectively and strengthen our national defense and economic security,” says Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose CyberMaryland plan envisions the state as the epicenter of work in the field. “This bold initiative will complement the work of CyberMaryland, and I look to it as a national model for developing a response to the threat of cyberdisruptions.”
A number of faculty in the college’s Department of Computer Science are currently deeply engaged in cybersecurity research, including Jonathan Katz, cryptography; Bill Arbaugh, operating systems; and Neil Spring and Bobby Bhattacharjee, privacy in social networks.
A concentration of courses in cybersecurity is also being developed. “As students fulfill their degree requirements, if they take a subset of cybersecurity courses, they will earn a cybersecurity certificate,” explains Larry Davis, chair of the Department of Computer Science, who says elements of the concentration were developed in conjunction with the National Security Administration (NSA). “We are seeing strong demand from local government labs and companies that want to employ students and want to partner with our faculty on research.” NSA’s Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences, located within minutes of campus, has funded research in cybersecurity systems and software and looks forward to rotating its staff members, as well as university faculty and students, between its operational center and campus.
The Maryland Cybersecurity Center is a joint project of CMNS with the A. James Clark School of Engineering, led jointly by Davis and the chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. It will partner with other colleges, including the School of Public Policy and the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The center is seeking to recruit a new director in the coming months. “We are looking for a recognized candidate with a first-rate technical background complemented by a strong knowledge and interest in policy issues related to cybersecurity,” describes Davis, who notes that four new faculty members are being hired in addition to the director.
Private sector partners, including Google, Lockheed Martin and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), are also eager to work with and support the center. Additionally, MC2 will work with small businesses, drawing on the university’s extensive programs for technology development and commercialization, including the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute and Office of Technology Commercialization, to bring new technologies to market and economic growth to the region.