Association for Computing Machinery
Timely Topics for IT Professionals

About ACM TechNews

ACM TechNews is published every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


ACM TechNews is intended as an objective news digest for busy IT Professionals. Views expressed are not necessarily those of ACM. To send comments, please write to technews@hq.acm.org.
Volume 7, Issue 758: Friday, February 25, 2005

  • "Companies Seek to Hold Software Makers Liable for Flaws"
    Wall Street Journal (02/24/05) P. B1; Bank, David

    Software makers traditionally have no responsibility for damage or problems their customers suffer as a result of flawed or vulnerable software, but increasing numbers of customers are insisting that liability be established. The hope is that accountability will significantly lower the cost to customers, and give vendors an incentive to improve their products' security and reliability. This trend is part of an even bigger trend in the computer market, in which power is shifting from tech vendors to buyers as a result of slower spending and technology maturation. Software firms such as Microsoft say they are already taking steps to improve software security and reliability in response to customer demand, and Microsoft associate general counsel Ira Rubinstein says the threat of liability lawsuits would only take critical resources away from existing security initiatives and hurt smaller software firms that lack the resources to defend themselves against such lawsuits. The Business Roundtable does not think companies should be required to disclose security breaches or comply with minimum computer-security standards, on the grounds that their companies could be exposed to legal liability; nevertheless, stricter privacy and accountability rules are hastening the emphasis on supplier responsibility. "Until you address flaws in software and hardware, you're not going to solve the problem," says Business Roundtable public policy director Miriam Hopkins. Oracle chief security officer Mary Ann Davidson warns that the national security requirements and the lack of liability are combining to create an atmosphere where government regulation of software might be imposed. She suggests that such regulation could be evaded if software makers demonstrate that they are responsibly addressing customer demands for improved security.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Access to this site is free; however, first-time visitors must register.)

  • "EU Patent Crisis: Pressure Mounting to Scrap IT Changes"
    eWeek (02/24/05); Broersma, Matthew

    A motion for the European Commission to act on the European Union's proposed software patenting directive was unanimously passed on Feb. 24 by the European Parliament, which is calling for the dismissal of the proposal in its current form and restarting the legislative process. Many EU national parliaments are fiercely opposed to the directive, on the grounds that its passage would set up a patent system much like that of the U.S., where small and open source companies must negotiate a minefield of patent claims. Large companies such as Microsoft and industry bodies such as the European Information and Communications Technology Industry Association support the proposal and are asking for a second reading, claiming that the directive will help unify the fragmented EU patent system. The EP's motion follows an earlier restart request to the Commission by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee, and its subsequent ratification by the Conference of Presidents. The motion also indicates that if the EU Council accepts the directive's current text and re-submits it to the Parliament for a second reading, there is enough support within the EP to scrap the proposal entirely. Meanwhile, the Commission and the Council have reached a stalemate over which of them is responsible for taking the next course of action. NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign director Florian Mueller says the Commission's decision could be unfairly influenced by Microsoft, given that the Commissioner overseeing the patents proposal is also the former minister of finance for Ireland, where a liberal tax policy toward IT companies--Microsoft in particular--has been key to the country's economic success.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "9-11 Commissioner Calls for End to ISACs"
    IDG News Service (02/18/05); Roberts, Paul

    In a Feb. 17 panel discussion at the RSA Conference, Jamie Gorelick, a member of the 9-11 Commission, said the federal government's reliance on information sharing and analysis centers (ISACs) is a flawed model that should be discarded or dramatically revised. She said the voluntary, industry-led ISACs were too disorganized and underfunded to be effective tools for passing on important data about threats to U.S. infrastructure to the government, and was especially critical of the absence of federal oversight. Gorelick said the government should fund the ISACs as well as set up a dependable communications system for each center. She also suggested that the government supply a single point of contact for ISACs that can function as a "quarterback" for diverse industry groups and win over senior executives in various industry areas. However, Information Technology ISAC (IT-ISAC) President Guy Copeland disagreed with Gorelick. He said the lack of government funding has actually strengthened his group and insisted that the ISAC program is encouraging information sharing between industry and government, even if it is not adhering slavishly to the Clinton-era directive that established the program. Former senior White House aide Richard Clarke, who also participated in the RSA panel discussion, said the government has been too hands-off with the private sector in the pursuit of vital network security data. "We need a synoptic view of cyberspace that shows us where and when attacks are happening," he argued.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Artificially Induced"
    Times Union (02/20/05); Earls, Stephanie

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Artificial Intelligence and Reasoning Lab is working to create reasoning computers for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previous inventions at the laboratory include the psychometric experimental robotic intelligence system that could successfully complete portions of a standard IQ test and the Brutus.1 program that wrote original short stories, while lab director Selmer Bringsjord is currently tasked with enabling a computer to read, understand, and analyze material. DARPA's Jan Walker says an important facet of the research is being able to measure the system's cognitive ability. Bringsjord has been working on artificial intelligence since 1980, but admits he is very doubtful about whether machines can ever achieve human intelligence; he rejects any mention of machine consciousness because it is impossible to describe that in terms of computer programs or algorithms. The DARPA-funded project at Rensselaer is aiming for the relatively modest goal of enabling machine reasoning to the point that computers could read military manuals and plans and create realistic war games, for example. Other applications also involve harnessing individual reasoning capabilities, but cannot be discussed because the work is "need to know," says Bringsjord. Reasoning computers would not only understand book material, but would consider possible questions and generate answers spontaneously, he explains. Cognitive science researcher Sunny Khemlani, who is working to translate math proofs into English-language phrases, says computer programs have never been able to give sophisticated justifications along with answers.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Access to this site is free; however, first-time visitors must register.)

  • "Taking Java to the Embedded Market"
    IST Results (02/24/05)

    State-of-the-art Java technology is partly responsible for traditional IT systems' gradual transformation from visible desktop computers to concealed embedded systems in smart devices, and the IST-funded HIDOORS project took an important step in this direction by demonstrating that the Java platform is durable and elastic enough to accommodate the needs of real-time and embedded systems. HIDOORS involved the participation of six European partners committed to the goal of improving Java deployment as well as the tools needed to apply Java technology to a broad spectrum of embedded real-time applications. One HIDOORS partner, aicas, has expanded by approximately 30% annually since the project began, according to aicas CEO and project coordinator Dr. James Hunt. "We are the only commercial vendor that supports the Real-time Specification for Java (RTSJ), which is a major plus," he boasts. "We also have incorporated real-time garbage collection technology that makes it easier to use Java in a real-time environment without compromising on the flexibility that is one of Java's great strengths." Dr. Fridtjof Siebert, aicas director of development, says the technology is currently geared for three chief markets--aerospace/military, industrial automation, and automotive. Hunt says not only does the Java platform offer flexibility, but also programming security, as certain kinds of errors that crop up in languages such as C or C+ are eliminated in object-oriented languages like Java.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Go for IT: Conference Tells Grade-Nine Girls"
    IT World Canada (02/24/05); Pickett, Patricia

    Lasha Dekker, Microsoft Canada's vice president of developer and platform evangelism, prepared for her keynote address at the Explore IT Conference on Feb. 23 by interviewing grade-nine girls about their perceptions of IT careers, and composing a presentation that debunked key myths. She noted that girls often view IT careers as "geeky," dull, and socially as well as physically isolating. Dekker used her own experiences to relate the reality of an IT career to conference attendees, noting that there are diverse IT fields--research and development, sales and marketing, programming--to choose from, as well as opportunities to travel and deal with different kinds of customers. She said her arc toward an IT career was mostly a matter of luck rather than guidance from others, as she had an affinity for math and science at an early age. Noting that a mere 20% of college or university computer science graduates are currently women, Dekker declared, "For girls...interested in IT, I want to underscore that they should go for it, and for the ones that are not sure, they should at least consider it and explore the opportunities available in IT." Victor Doerksen, Minister of Innovation and Science for the Canadian province of Alberta, says his government division is committed to raising science awareness among grade-nine students of both genders. "We want to encourage them to stay in math and sciences to give them more options for the future," he says.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Finding a Replacement for Passwords"
    CNet (02/23/05); Fried, Ina

    The fact that online password protection is a cost-free security measure is the key to its enduring appeal, and to users' general refusal to opt for more effective--and expensive--solutions, say analysts. Companies with a significant e-business component advise customers to use easy-to-remember yet hard-to-guess passwords, but the reality is that well-equipped hackers can quickly guess passwords, while keeping track of numerous passwords is often a futile task for most people. RSA and other security firms are focusing on hardware-based solutions such as the SecurID token, which produces a one-time password every couple of seconds and helps support two-factor authentication; RSA hopes for the use of a single consumer token to manage many accounts. But consultant Tony Gentile says token-based authentication may not be universally applicable to all businesses and usage patterns. The tokens could also become inconvenient for consumers, as they could be easily lost, and the need for multiple tokens to handle different accounts could also limit their appeal. Online service provider consensus on a single product or standard would help, but the possibility of such an agreement remains vague. Gartner predicted last December that 60% to 75% of American banks will use stronger security measures than password protection by the end of 2007, although they would not hand out hardware tokens; meanwhile, anywhere between one-third and one-half of overseas banks will require tokens. Tokens are not the only alternative authentication technologies: Other, less expensive options include graphical passwords, voice prints, and biometric authentication. There are concerns that U.S. regulators could force banks to tighten security if they fail to do it on their own, a situation that "could dramatically increase costs," says JP Morgan Chase's Richard Parry.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "No Encryption for E-Passports"
    Wired News (02/24/05); Singel, Ryan

    Security experts are concerned that the suggested upgrading of Americans' passports with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips containing data such as the bearer's name, date of birth, and digital photo could actually compromise travelers' security, because recently proposed rules forbid encryption. This measure would supposedly encourage worldwide adoption of e-passports and expedite entry and exits at customs, but privacy advocates and security researchers claim a lack of encryption makes the passports susceptible to "skimming," in which the sensitive data is accessed by unauthorized RFID tag readers without the bearer's knowledge. The State Department acknowledges the skimming danger, but argues that the chips in the passports have limited read range and will be protected by a shielding mechanism, while the suspiciousness of eavesdropping at border stations will further deter hackers. Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Lee Tien counters that properly equipped eavesdroppers can retrieve e-passport information from up to 30 feet away, and dismisses the State Department's solution as "the equivalent of duct tape and baling wire as far [as] protecting peoples' information from being read." Counterpane Internet Security co-founder Bruce Schneier also doubts that shielding could be effective in places such as Europe, where travelers are frequently asked to show their passports. He thinks contact chips, which are immune to skimming, are a much better solution than remotely readable chips. Meanwhile, the State Department has postponed the rollout of e-passports in response to criticism, and has enlisted more companies to supply prototypes.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "The Touchy-Feely Side of Telecoms"
    New Scientist (02/23/05); Biever, Celeste

    Upcoming mobile phones from Samsung will incorporate haptic technology that enables users to send text messages with accompanying texture and other tactile sensations. Key challenges in haptics development include the complex interplay of physical variables such as force, vibration, texture, and temperature, and the difficulty of achieving a two-way interactive tactile quality over the Internet because of latencies. The Samsung phones represent the first mass-market application of haptics, which until now have been primarily relegated to vibrating game pads and force-feedback controls for video gaming systems. The kinds of sensations the phone produces are controlled by a menu: The sender selects the sensation he wishes to attach to his message, and "vibrotactile" motors in the recipient's phone are triggered when the recipient reads the message. Sile O'Modhrain of Media Lab Europe explains that such "pre-packaged" haptics are but the tip of the iceberg, and a much wider range of sensations must be accommodated if the technology is to reach its full potential. An MIT student has devised a phone capable of delivering a squeezing sensation that slightly mimics the feeling of holding hands, and O'Modhrain notes that such sophisticated effects can be created with existing technology. Haptics could be especially helpful to vision-impaired users such as O'Modhrain, although efforts to produce a haptic Internet have thus far yielded few major breakthroughs.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Digital TV's Hollywood Showdown"
    Technology Review (02/25/05); Hellweg, Eric

    Content owners have been fighting technology companies, consumer groups, and digital rights advocates over the FCC's mandate that broadcast flag technology be deployed in all electronic devices that receive TV signals sold after July 1 of this year. The debate reached a turning point on Feb. 22 as the U.S. Appeals Court's District of Columbia Circuit heard the arguments in a lawsuit filed by Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Library Association, the Medical Library Association, and the Association of Research Libraries. EFF attorney Wendy Seltzer says the plaintiffs' hopes were buoyed when two of the three judges presiding over the case openly stated their opposition to broadcast flags. The FCC set its broadcast flag mandate in November 2003 in response to content owners' concerns that rampant digital piracy of broadcast material would ensue as television networks transitioned from analog to digital TV transmission. The plaintiffs claim the FCC is violating the law and basically dictating the design of consumer electronic products without congressional authorization. Consumers are objecting to broadcast flags on the grounds that they violate "fair use" rights guaranteed by law. Many content owners have threatened to withhold digital content if the flag measure is defeated, which would have an adverse effect on consumer electronics companies that depend on content to sell digital TVs and accessories; however, an anonymous executive dismisses such threats, since growing sales of digital TVs and the availability of digital programming are likely to lead to backlash against the networks if content is suppressed. In addition, broadcast flags and similar restrictions could endanger the consumer market prospects of mobile phones that stream TV signals.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "For Simpler Robots, a Step Forward"
    New York Times (02/24/05) P. E1; Eisenberg, Anne

    Future bipedal robot designs may be significantly influenced by three models unveiled at last week's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The robots--developed by the Delft University of Technology, MIT, and Cornell University--are capable of walking on a level surface while consuming substantially less power than standard machines, and using a more natural mode of perambulation. The motor-equipped robots, whose mechanisms are detailed in Science, demonstrate that classic passive-dynamic walking devices do not always have to rely on gravitational power. Cornell professor Andy Ruina explains that both his robot and the Delft machine walk with less complicated control algorithms than those used by cutting-edge devices such as Honda's Asimo; in addition, neither robot uses complex real-time calculations or depends on constant sensory feedback. The Cornell machine exerts only a small amount of energy to move forward, while each arm is equipped with a 12-volt battery to power its ankles when they push off. The MIT research that yielded the Toddler robot was partly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Michael Foster with the NSF says the work establishes the possibility of controlling complex objects in a simple manner: "Much of the control is given to us by the laws of physics than by our own efforts in programming," he notes. The robots showcased at the conference can only move forward right now, and making them capable of climbing stairs, for instance, will require substantially more power. Boston Dynamics President Marc Raibert expects every subsequent generation of legged robot to incorporate passive-dynamic design principles, whereby the robot's mechanism has built-in elements for natural movement.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Articles published within 7 days can be accessed free of charge on this site. After 7 days, a pay-per-article option is available. First-time visitors will need to register.)

  • "Wireless's New Hookup"
    Wall Street Journal (02/24/05) P. B1; Bulkeley, William M.

    The Zigbee wireless standard promises to enable reasonably cheap home automation since people do not have to install wires. More than 100 firms announced plans for Zigbee products late last year, including Honeywell International, Motorola, Samsung Electronics, and Philips Electronics. Zigbee is a low-power technology that allows a simple light switch, for example, to operate up to five years using a single AA battery; Zigbee's wireless signal also extends further than most single-purpose wireless devices such as garage door openers. The U.S. Energy Department estimates as much as $8 billion could be saved each year if Zigbee-connected sensors controlled building lighting, and the department has hired Dust Networks to study Zigbee's possible energy-saving applications. Another important application could be for individual home owners who are likely to be able to purchase inexpensive Zigbee-equipped do-it-yourself packs at home improvement stores later this year. Zigbee would allow people to install wall-mounted light switches without doing the wiring; a light-switch pack could include a circuit device at the electricity outlet and a switch device that could be mounted with adhesive. Zigbee is being used by scientists to study the Leach's storm petrels off the coast of Maine, where sensors have been placed in 150 underground nests to determine environmental conditions. Oil giant British Petroleum is using low-power wireless sensors to monitor the status of tanker equipment, and a California vineyard is using the sensors to keep track of micro-climates in order to determine the optimum time for harvest.

  • "Navigating Open-Source Licenses Can Be Tough Task"
    Linux Insider (02/21/05); Warrene, Blane

    Open Source Initiative (OSI) founder Eric Raymond says company developers should not spend too much effort researching possible patent infringement when launching new open source projects: "You don't 'want' to know what patents you may be infringing in advance--that makes it 'willful' and trebles the damages," he says. The combination of current intellectual property law and the rapid proliferation of open- and mixed-source software projects means it is nearly impossible to be completely sure no protected code is included in an open source application; the best option is to prove due diligence by conducting a cursory review to make sure no explicit copyrights are used, but ignore potential risks thereafter. The OSI governs the definition of open source and certifies open source licenses, and is working to update the commonly used GNU General Public License. Raymond says the group is also looking at containing proliferation of open source licenses by ensuring new licenses represent a unique approach to legal issues, and are not simply branded licenses that tout a company's product. Among the more than 50 licenses in the OSI library, only about a half-dozen are in wide use, says Raymond. The rest are like the Common Development and Distribution License recently contributed by Sun Microsystems that is tied to its Open Solaris project. Raymond says the OSI is working on a tool that will help developers choose the most appropriate open source license; meanwhile, policy makers, lawyers, and the legal system will begin to change intellectual property law to fit modern needs.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Xen Lures Big-Name Endorsements"
    CNet (02/18/05); Shankland, Stephen

    Open source virtualization software Xen has gained serious industry backing in the last few months, creating the possibility that the technology could become a standard feature for future computers. Xen allows multiple operating systems to run on the same machine through virtualization of the hardware; IT administrators can maximize the utilization rates of their hardware with the technology. Xen's main focus right now is Linux, according to XenSource founder Ian Pratt, who also leads the three-year-old University of Cambridge Xen project. Xen poses a serious threat to VMware, which offers complete virtualization capabilities where any unmodified operating system can run alongside other systems when a computer is equipped with proprietary "virtual machine" software. Xen requires that operating systems be modified slightly in order to coexist on the same hardware, but gains performance advantages in exchange. Intel's upcoming Vanderpool Technology (VT) will allow unmodified operating systems to work on Xen-equipped machines, though with slower performance. Linux distributors Novell and Red Hat aim to repurpose or create control software tailored for Xen in new versions of their software, while Intel, AMD, and IBM are working to support Xen in their server chips. IBM, which also has a business partnership with VMware, is working to integrate its security architecture into Xen so that administrators can control access privileges and information flow between virtual machines; in addition, IBM is expected to contribute input-output device communication services and virtual memory software to the Xen project. The NetBSD Unix version works with Xen, and Sun is considering reworking its Solaris operating system as well.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Breach Points Up Flaws in Privacy Laws"
    New York Times (02/24/05) P. C1; Zeller Jr., Tom

    The recent disclosure by ChoicePoint that personal data on nearly 145,000 individuals was accidentally sold to identity thieves has spurred discussion among lawmakers about how to shore up privacy and data protection laws. Experts say the ChoicePoint incident illuminates how discontinuous state and federal laws are regarding privacy and data protection, and that the case could give momentum behind state and federal legislative efforts to unify those laws. Some 35,000 Californians affected by the ChoicePoint breach were notified before those in other states only because California has a notification law, allege critics. ChoicePoint says federal investigators asked them to delay notifying affected individuals, and CEO Derek Smith says the company welcomes either voluntary industry standardization on privacy protection or government mandates. ChoicePoint is among several large data gatherers that have consolidated the consumer data market in the last decade, but caters to the widest audience, including insurers, private investigators, corporate employee screeners, check-cashing firms, and others. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who introduced three consumer privacy bills last month, says new laws are needed to deal with increased threats in the digital age. Current federal legislation includes bills targeting the financial, health, and credit reporting industries. Joseph Ansanelli, CEO of information security firm Vontu, says any solution to the problem should not focus on specific industries, but rather on the nature and handling of personal data.
    Click Here to View Full Article
    (Articles published within 7 days can be accessed free of charge on this site. After 7 days, a pay-per-article option is available. First-time visitors will need to register.)

  • "Slow Going on the Global Grid"
    InformationWeek (02/21/05) No. 1027, P. 34; Ricadela, Aaron

    The Globus grid computing software framework is receiving renewed support from big technology vendors with the release of its new Globus Toolkit version 4 (GT4), which makes the framework more suitable for business applications. Major business grid users such as Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline have turned to commercial vendors for their grid computing projects, in part because the global nature of Globus software did not meet their immediate needs, such as fast rollout and support services. Unlike proprietary or home-grown grid systems, Globus grids are meant to allow resource-sharing between entirely distinct organizations while protecting access and resource requirements--but GlaxoSmithKline did not need those capabilities, especially since pharmaceutical firms guard their drug development process so closely. Globus Alliance founders Ian Foster, Carl Kesselman, and Steve Tuecke launched the spinoff company Univa in December in order to bridge the gap between business needs and Globus software by providing licensing, technical road map management, bug fixes, and enterprise application integration services. Experts also say the inclusion of the Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF) software layer will increase GT4's business appeal, especially for vendors such as SAP, IBM, and Sun Microsystems, all of which stand to benefit from the merging of Web services and grid computing. Those companies have also begun integrating Globus grid computing components with their enterprise products. Univa also aims to port Globus software to Windows, which will help software vendors rewrite their programs for Globus grid operation. Meanwhile, Microsoft has not joined the Globus Consortium and is funding the development of WSRF.Net, which enables resource-sharing in a .NET environment.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "High-Tech Renaissance"
    Chronicle of Higher Education (02/25/05) Vol. 51, No. 25, P. A33; Foster, Andrea L.

    Daniel A. Reed, formerly of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has conceived of a Renaissance Computer Institute where scholars of all disciplines can learn to tap high-performance computing and data mining resources to conduct research that could yield significant long-term benefits to society, and the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and North Carolina State University are funding the realization of Reed's dream. The University of North Carolina is paying Reed a hefty salary because "He's able to describe what computer science technology is able to do to improve people's lives, and he's able to do that in a way that captures people's imaginations," says University of Illinois vice chancellor for research Charles Zukoski. This gift has been instrumental in securing grants from outfits such as the National Science Foundation for initiatives such as the TeraGrid project. Reed observes that most academic institutions take a conservative, change-resistant approach to research, and the Renaissance Computer Institute would be designed to cultivate radical ideas and provide or help acquire resources for researchers to get projects launched. He expects satellite offices to be established throughout the state to help encourage development, particularly in poor rural areas. The institute is currently home to roughly 25 students and staffers, but Reed wants to have as many as 75 personnel at the facility by year's end. The institute and IBM are working out the $200 million collaborative "Deep Carolina" project, in which problems involving the arts, sciences, and humanities would be investigated with data mining and next-generation supercomputing systems. University of North Carolina administrators hope that Reed's institute, along with other North Carolina companies, will develop products that will give the state economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

  • "The 'Pull' of Niche Communities"
    Campus Technology (02/05) Vol. 18, No. 6, P. 14; Grush, Mary

    Author and visiting scholar at USC's Annenberg Center John Seely Brown envisions the knowledge economy transitioning from the supply-push model of monopolistic corporations to the demand-pull model of niche communities, and discusses what parts open source and open content play in this metamorphosis in an interview. Brown, a past director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, uses mass media as an example of supply-push and blogging as an example of demand-pull, noting that "there's an interesting interplay between demand-pull and supply-push; sets of synergies serendipitously happen that then force their way into consciousness, in terms of mass media." Brown expects media companies to fiercely resist the switch from supply-push to demand-pull, as any corporation is understandably resistant to the loss of control such a change entails. He observes that true innovation originates from peripheral niche communities, for the most part, explaining that open source, open content, and open learning are fostering a new production model for education as well as a new learning model that harnesses the Web and other "naturally occurring resources." Brown expects the interplay between open source and open content to stem from open-content advocates' realization that existing systems will not support new applications. By demonstrating their reasons for performing these applications, the open-content people will inspire the rest of the community to get into the act. Brown foresees rough terrain ahead for higher-education IT organizations in their attempts to redefine themselves in the changing knowledge economy, given that institutions of higher learning, like all institutions, are resistant to change.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Cybercorps Scholarships Fund New Generation of Security Gurus"
    Software (02/05) Vol. 22, No. 1, P. 98; McLaughlin, Laurianne

    The goal of the National Science Foundation's Cybercorps scholarship program is twofold: To increase leading computer science students' knowledge of information assurance and security, and to encourage them to apply that knowledge to government work after they graduate. Professors think the scholarship students will enhance the safety of America's public and private digital infrastructure in the future. The program funds either an undergraduate's junior and senior years or a two-year graduate program, on the condition that recipients spend two years in the employ of a government agency following graduation. Participating universities can also receive capacity-building awards to help upgrade information assurance and security curricula and courses, as well as help the schools qualify as National Security Agency Centers for Academic Excellence. Cybercorps was motivated by a number of factors, including the need for more students with information assurance and security skills in government agencies. Cybercorps lead program director Diana Gant notes that nearly 90% of all Cybercorps graduates have earned a government job and been employed by government agencies, while Carnegie Mellon University Cybercorps program coordinator Don McGillen reports that students are electing to remain with government agencies even after their term of service ends. Placing Cybercorps graduates in government jobs can be a slow process because of the need for security clearances, although Gant says participating agencies are attempting to resolve this problem. The program's future targets include making government agencies more aware of the program, boosting the amount of real-world content that students use in classes, and addressing information security across multiple disciplines, including anthropology, engineering, political science, and sociology.
    Click Here to View Full Article