Ohio Supercomputer Center Training Courses Contribute to Efforts to Strengthen National Security

Columbus, OH – July 12, 2006 – The Ohio Supercomputer Center’s (OSC) internationally-recognized training expertise will now be used to help reduce vulnerability in our nation’s information system.

Recently, The Ohio State University (OSU) was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As part of OSU’s designation, OSC will provide NSA-certified training and participate as a member of OSU’s Consortium for IAE.

The National CAEIAE program is an outreach program designed and operated initially by the NSA in the spirit of the Presidential Decision Directive 63, National Policy on Critical Infrastructure Protection, May 1998. The program’s goal is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education in IAE and increasing the number of professionals with IAE expertise in various disciplines.
It is now jointly sponsored by the NSA and DHS in support of the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, February 2003.

OSU recommended OSC as a candidate for its Consortium for IAE. OSC was appointed to the consortium after rigorous evaluation and measurement using stringent NSA criteria. 

“OSC’s experience in distance education, delivering courses, and sharing curriculum demonstrates our commitment to academic excellence in IAE education,” said Leslie Southern, OSC High Performance Computing Director. “The CAEIAE program was specifically interested in candidates’ experience with minority universities, and our work with Central State University was key in OSC’s selection.”

For the past few years, OSC has worked with Central State University, providing high-speed network connections, access to advanced computational resources for classroom use, instruction using IP videoconferencing tools, guest lectures, computer clusters for education and research, lectures over the Access Grid, course materials and more. OSC staff has also taught tutorials at Central State University’s annual high performance computing summer institute sponsored by the Department of Defense Modernization Program.

In addition to its work with Central State University, OSC’s high quality training and online courses also contributed to its selection.  To date, approximately 14,000 participants worldwide have logged onto the MPI (Message Passing Interface) course developed by the Partners for Advanced Computational Services (PACS) Alliance Training Group.  Its success has led to a follow-on intermediate tutorial, attracting another 1,000 students.

OSC has also taught multiple workshops reaching institutions worldwide and joining hundreds of participants over the Access Grid. The Access Grid allows interactive, group-to-group video, audio and shared virtual environments. More than 150 universities, national labs, and research centers worldwide have Access Grid facilities. On site, OSC has taught a number of technical courses including UNIX, C Programming, C++, AVS, and Perl.

OSC’s distance education technologies, both synchronous and asynchronous, were also in place to meet the CAEIAE program’s technical requirements.  In addition to the Access Grid, OSC has used H.323 Internet videoconferencing for both research and instructional interactions.

Other university areas selected by the CAE program to provide NSA-certified courses include several College of Engineering departments (including Computer Science and Engineering), the Moritz College of Law, Fisher College of Business, Program for International and Homeland Security, Security Office of the CIO, OSU Libraries, and Geographic Information Science (GIS).  In all, NSA certified 54 OSU courses.

The OSU CAEIAE will play an important role to lead and support the IAE and research throughout the university. Various colleges and organizations work closely together for the partnerships in IAE with minority colleges and two-year community colleges and technical schools. It encourages and supports IAE and research as a multidisciplinary science through collaboration with other academic institutions. 

Designated CAEIAE Institutions are located throughout the country -- many within driving distance of major Department of Defense (DoD) installations, federal research centers, and other federal agencies. Selected schools serve as regional centers of IAE expertise and have already begun to provide more programs aimed at retooling and retaining current federal and state information technology personnel.

In addition to the formal recognition by the U.S. government, as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity, CAEIAEs are eligible for various government funding for their role in securing our nation’s information systems. Students attending CAEIAE schools are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

For more information, contact Elaine Landwehr at 614-292-0890 or landwehr@osc.edu.