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Computer Science gets upgrade grant

Posted On : November 12th, 2008

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Sacramento State received a $45,000 grant from Intel to upgrade old equipment in some of the computer labs used in the Computer Science Department.

Integrated Electronics Corporation, or Intel, is the largest semiconductor company and is based out of Santa Clara, Calif.

Bill Mitchell, who teaches in the Computer Science Department, applied for the grant with fellow faculty members Dick Smith and Isaac Ghansah, by sending in a proposal.

"The last three years, Intel has been requesting for faculty from different universities to come up with competitive proposals," Mitchell said.

The main objective of the grant is to replace older equipment for education and research in cyber security in collaboration with the Center for Information Assurance and Security.

CIAS is the operational division of institute for Cyber Security at Sac State.

"All of the upgrades will be hardware and will include things like printers, work stations, laptops and more," Mitchell said.

Emir Macari, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said it is an honor to receive funding from Intel for the advancement of Sac State's academic programs in the Computer Science Department.

"Our programs are growing because there is renewed interest in studying computer science and as a result, our enrollment has begun to grow at faster rate."

Macari said the Computer Science Department has been doing very well and students are getting a lot out of their classes.

"CIAS is working on cutting edge research and as a result, our students are being hired to do a lot of this work and they are receiving tremendous training while they get their education."

Dick Smith and Isaac Ghansah both teach Computer Science 154, titled Computer Systems Attacks and Countermeasures, which simultaneously trains students to defend and break into computer networks.

Their class is taught in Riverside Hall in one of the labs that has been receiving the upgrades.

"The students break up into two teams, one that tries to hack and one that tries to defend a network as if they were doing it for a real business," Smith said.

The rest of the engineering department has also taken notice of the simulations that have been going on during this class.

"It's been quite the talk of the building, because it's fun," Smith said.

Marcus Watstein, senior computer science major, said he said the class teaches students vital information they can use in real life.

"Last week during one of the simulations we had, one student found out that his computer at home was being attacked in the same way he was learning to do it in class," Watstein said.

Watstein said the grant from Intel will help the department enormously.

"I am ecstatic about the grant because we need the money and new equipment," he said.

Daniel Dong, a recent computer engineer graduate, also participates in Smith and Ghansah's class and said that it's good practice for the real world.

"I am part of the judging team, so I see if the defending team is using the services we told them to and kind of watch over both sides to see what's going on," Dong said.

In 2007, the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Sac State became one of only 87 universities across the nation to be named a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Security by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

For Sac State to be named a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Security means a lot to the department and Smith.

"To get that title means that we are teaching standards of security in our school that the government would like to see," Smith said.

Andres Cuevas can be reached at

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