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DSU to Direct $60 Million to Cyber Sciences

Usury brings more good things to life in South Dakota. Premier Bankcard boss Miles Beacom has thrown in with Premier owner T. Denny Sanford to give Beacom’s alma mater, Dakota State University, $30 million to build the Madison Cyber Labs, offer scholarships, hire more faculty and staff, and get the College of Computing renamed the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences. Governor Dennis Daugaard will throw in $10 million from the Future Fund  (which he can just up and do, since he, not the Legislature, controls that fund). DSU will put another $20 million into the project, which will allow DSU students and faculty to do secret stuff for corporations and the military.

If you’re with me in thinking that “Computer and Cyber Sciences” is redundant, there is a distinction. According to this 2015 Association for Computing Machinery presentation, the “consideration of an adversary, either human or artificial,” is essential to the new discipline Beacom’s money will institutionalize at DSU:

David Lightman, reflected in terminal screen, Wargames, 1983
Human and artificial threats…

Cyber Sciences [is a] computing-based discipline involving technology, people, and processes aligned in a way to enable “assured operations” in the presence of risks and adversaries.

It involves the creation, operation, analysis, and testing of secure computer systems (including network and communication systems) as well as the study of how to employ operations, reasonable risk taking, and risk mitigations.

It is an interdisciplinary course of study, and includes aspects of law, policy, human factors, ethics, risk management, and other topics directly related to the success of the activities and operations dependent on such systems, often in the context of an adversary [Elizabeth K. Hawthorne, Sue Fitzgerald, and Andy Phillips, “Update: Cyber Education,” ACM Education Council Meeting, Denver, Colorado, 2015.08.24].

In other words, computer science is about doing stuff with computers. Cyber science is about keeping others from messing up the stuff we’re doing with our computers.


  1. Porter Lansing 2017-08-21 10:09

    Hacking college? Excellent opportunity. Protecting corporations and the military? MEH … What we need is to rewrite the way elections are done. Right or wrong, many are anxious about the possibility that Russia hacked voting machines. Paper ballots will suffice until a new way is devised. Perhaps nationwide cyber elections every month. Do away with elected politicians and do a direct Democracy. Also important is a way to filter fake news. It’s been proven that Russian fake news influenced the Trump victory.

  2. Rorschach 2017-08-21 10:30

    “boos Miles Beacom”

    Freudian slip?

  3. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-08-21 11:12

    So we plan to use funds from a predatory past to now fight predatory hacking, huh?…. But then again, I guess it is like using a part of a disease to stop the overall disease, isn’t it?…..

  4. mike from iowa 2017-08-21 15:14

    Will this project increase employment, or raise wages or just be a monument to someone’s monumental ego?

  5. Daniel Buresh 2017-08-21 16:33

    This is a great thing for Dakota State, Madison, and SD. These programs are going to output some of the most intelligent and well-payed employees in SD. Tech related companies in the country, including SD, are fighting for the best and brightest….which means even SD wages have been going up quite a bit. It’s not a mutually exclusive issue there Mike. It doesn’t have to be a 1 or a 0.

  6. grudznick 2017-08-21 18:50

    This is horrible. They are pounding good money down a rat hole.

  7. grudznick 2017-08-21 19:07

    Think how much $40,000,000 would do to give good teachers raises! If you assume the SILT (six indisputable levels of teachers) is roughly a bell curve, or even if it is a straight 6-pieces-of-pie, the top two groups could have gotten really nice raises from this money.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-22 06:51

    “boos”—yes! Sorry about that error in the first line; I have revised it to “boss.”

    JKC, yes, it is awkward, like auctioning Confederate memorabilia to fund scholarships for minority youth (hmm… a good use for old statues?). I guess I’d rather T. Denny and Miles put their money toward projects like this than buying more luxury goods. And hey, if some of these graduates can study methods to build better election data firewalls, we all win.

    Porter mentions fake news. I wonder if there’s a way to view filtering and debunking deceptive websites and fake social media profiles actually posted by hackers and propagandists as part of the cyber science portfolio.

  9. Greg 2017-08-22 07:04

    Wow Daniel, you have drank the koolaid. How many people work at DSU and haven’t got a raise in 2 years?

  10. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-08-22 10:34

    Cory, I heard you, but where is the atonement for past predatory behavior?… We shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but if its past history resembles it current nemesis, then one must admit that we are merely curing and not really preventing….

  11. Porter Lansing 2017-08-22 10:59

    The latest problem in cyber is hackers calling your cell phone company and getting them to transfer your service to one of their devices. They quickly change your password and then abscond with all your digital currency. One fella sat and watched it being done and couldn’t get anyone at Verizon or Coinbase to respond in time to stop the theft of $200,000 in bit currency.
    Digital currency transactions can’t be reversed, which is one of their biggest selling points but is also what makes these hacking transactions so hard to stop.

  12. Porter Lansing 2017-08-22 11:09

    As Buresh said, this could be a big, effin’ deal for Madison. South Dakota desperately needs an identity. Do you know that a majority of desk workers in the CIA are Mormons? Mormons are honest to a fault and can keep their mouths shut, even under duress. Perfect profile for a spy agency. If SoDak can build a reputation for those same traits, an identity as USA’s cyber warfare state could follow and the doldrums of Republican “build nothingness” and “spend no money to make no money” could be mitigated.

  13. Porter Lansing 2017-08-22 11:14

    Grudzie … Have you noticed how the people who are most against new ideas are the people (like you) who don’t have any?

  14. grudznick 2017-08-22 17:45

    I have noticed that, Mr. Lansing. Many of us subscribe to the same magazines that write the same old articles over and over against new ideas.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-23 09:31

    (Porter, I don’t need a degree in Cyber Science to recognize the obvious solution: don’t use digital currency! Fake money!)

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-23 09:34

    JKC, short of revelation of criminal activity that remains within the statute of limitations, there may be no atonement we can mandate. But maybe someday when we get back to viewing usury as a sin, activists will demand the removal of the names and statues of Sanford, Beacom, Huether, and other usurers.

  17. Porter Lansing 2017-08-23 09:44

    That’s a highly German answer to a complex problem, Cory. :) If someone wants to pay students/graduates with a Cyber Science degree to find a choice of solutions to their security problem with a perfectly legal item, then the opportunity should be mined. All money is fake, except gold.

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-23 10:01

    Gold? A metal that’s not good for much but shining, is too heavy to make much everyday material, and is too rare to make electrical wiring in bulk? Gold is fake money, too!

    I’ve always found it interesting that gold could become currency due to simple rarity, not any inherent or practical value.

    I’m way off topic now, but imagine a table in the desert. On it we have a bar of gold, a book, and a canteen of water. Which has more value?

  19. Porter Lansing 2017-08-23 10:10

    I’ll try to return to the topic of what’s best for one of my favorite towns, (where I have many friends) Madville.
    If you were near death in the desert, the water would have more current value. As soon as help was near, the gold would regain it’s consistent value because of it’s rarity.
    Bitcoin is non-political world money. e.g. If Ukraine and Russia are at war and I live in Russia and am owed a debt by someone in Ukraine the debt can’t be paid because monetary transactions have been banned because of wartime politics. The debt can however be paid in bitcoin and both sides can be satisfied no matter the politics of the respective countries at war.

  20. Porter Lansing 2017-08-23 11:08

    Also, I can appreciate the irony of the hypothetical where Premier Bank usury generated donations were used to train cyber-warriors who in turn helped solve real world problems of BitCoin, the philosophically sworn enemy of Mr. Sanford’s empire.

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