Professor to speak about security in cyberspace, March 30

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KINGSTON, R.I. — March 21, 2011 — Cyberspace often looks like the Wild West. Hackers attack at will, take control of territory (botnets), and generally act with impunity. Unfortunately, there is much more at risk in cyberspace than in a small Wild West town. Important parts of our national infrastructure can be severely damaged and significant portions of our national wealth can be stolen or degraded.

Brown University Professor and cybersecurity expert John E. Savage will give an overview of the problems we face and highlight steps that can and have been taken to address them. Free and open to the public, the lecture will be held on Wednesday, March 30 at 2 p.m. in Lippitt Hall, Room 402.

Savage earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering at MIT in 1965 specializing in coding and information theory. He joined Bell Laboratories in 1965 and the faculty of the Division of Engineering at Brown University in 1967. In 1979 he co-founded the Department of Computer Science at Brown and served as its second chair from 1985 to 1991. By the early 1970s his research interests changed to theoretical computer science. Today they include computational nanotechnology, cybersecurity, the performance of multicore chips, and reliable computing with unreliable elements. He was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Research Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973. He is a Fellow of AAAS and ACM and a Life Fellow of IEEE.

During the 2009-10 academic year Savage served in the U.S. State Department as a Jefferson Science Fellow. His work there involved advising the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research on cybersecurity and other science and technology issues. In particular, his work was directed toward ways of protecting software and operating systems from hackers and other cyber threats.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the URI Honors Program and the Department of Computer Science and Statistics.