Westmont Magazine How to Survive a Hacker
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has given Westmont a prestigious $178,000 grant for computer security research over two years. The Cyber Trust Program will fund “RUI: Survivable, Adaptive and Scalable Distributed Systems.” NSF approved fewer than 50 of the 487 applications submitted to the organization this year.
“It’s exciting for Westmont to receive this award,” says Kim Kihlstrom, associate professor of computer science. She will oversee research by undergraduate students that focuses on protecting critical computer systems, such as the electric power control grid.
“It goes beyond security, it’s survivability,” Kihlstrom says. “The bad guys are going to get in. We’re relying more and more on computer systems for many critical functions and all are vulnerable to attack. Can we make them survive?”
The grant will fund eight new computers and support a computer science semester in England. Overseas, students will study at the historic Bletchley Park, where the first programmable computer was designed and where code breakers deciphered top secret German messages during World War II.
Kihlstrom is proud that the project provides opportunities to bring more women into the computer science profession. “I have a heart for women students and faculty members emerging in research,” she says. “There are too few women in the sciences.”