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:
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.