Chair’s Message | Taking the Long View

March 5, 2021

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy Community,

Thanks to all of you who commented on last week’s letter about the themes that came out of the faculty retreat. There will be working groups of students, faculty, alumni, and external stakeholders to expand the themes into narratives that will feed the strategic planning process beginning in earnest this fall. Now that the search committee for the inaugural chair has been announced, the questions posed during the retreat have taken on a new sense of urgency. I hope that many of you will find a way to be involved over the coming weeks.

The near-term business of building the school goes on as well. You should expect to see research and instructional faculty members added to the school and a new committee devoted to space and facilities soon. As I am sure you know, specialized laboratories and facilities are needed for world-class cybersecurity education and responsible experimentation. The new committee will seek broad input in developing a uniquely Georgia Tech approach to cybersecurity facilities.

I have hinted about it in the past, but today I can announce the first public event associated with a statewide initiative I am leading to address the challenge of producing enough qualified cyber-science and privacy professionals to close the cybersecurity workforce gap. I chair the new Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce (GCRT), organized by the University System of Georgia, to develop the cybersecurity education playbook for public and private institutions (including K-12, technical colleges, and higher education). On March 17, GCRT kicks off the first in a series of workshops, Building a Strategic Blueprint for Cybersecurity and Privacy Education. The objective is to offer the state’s education community the chance to collaborate and share perspectives about the growing demand for cybersecurity talent. Broad participation from Georgia Tech will drive this effort. Check back for more details on the website next week.

On other fronts:

  • This week, we had the opportunity to (virtually) host students admitted to the Ph.D. in computer science program and gave them a sneak peek of their new home in Coda. The Coda building is a nexus for innovation that will serve the school well (and it is the tallest building in midtown according to facilities management; it has 21 levels). Coda will also offer important opportunities for collaboration with industry because of its proximity to other key stakeholders in the Atlanta tech ecosystem.
  • The institute recently announced plans for a full reopening of campus for fall semester. With this new guidance, we will assess safe ways to let our community engage in Coda later this year.
  • Today at noon you can take part in a SCP lecture by my friend and colleague Harri Hursti, co-founder of Nordic Innovation Labs and one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic of electronic voting and critical infrastructure security. His talk will be on 2020 cyberattack trends and forecasts for 2021.
  • I am out of town this week, but I hope you can join SCP’s Curriculum Committee Chairs and Professors Annie Antón and Sy Goodman at 1 p.m. ET for the chair’s virtual open office hour. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, developing SCP’s curriculum has turned into an exciting venture, so I am sure you will want to hear Annie and Sy share their visions of how cybersecurity education should evolve at Georgia Tech. Remember, we were ranked #1 nationally for our undergraduate cybersecurity programs, so do not expect tomorrow’s discussion to be tame. It has been great to see these two leaders challenge their colleagues to think boldly and innovatively about cybersecurity education.
  • One March 11, a panel with the school’s curriculum co-chairs, Profs. Antón and Goodman, will feature Michael Nugent, director of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office for the U.S. Department of Defense. Faculty candidate talks also continue next week.

I’ll be back soon with more updates. Meanwhile, have a great weekend, and please continue to send me your thoughts about how to launch our new school.


Rich DeMillo
Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing  
Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy   

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Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde