Governor Larry Hogan yesterday announced the launch of the Maryland Institute for Innovative Computing (MIIC) at UMBC during a cybersecurity summit in Annapolis.
The MIIC will address pressing challenges related to computing, analytics, and workforce in state agencies, with a focus on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and data science. UMBC faculty, students and staff will work with MIIC partners to provide expertise on the complex process of recovering from cyberattacks. They will also offer technical guidance to inform policy decisions for leveraging data safely, securely, and ethically.
The partnership will also include talent from higher education institutions within the University System of Maryland and across the state, and partners in the public and private sectors.
“Maryland is showing the way by creating this innovative partnership that brings together experienced faculty and students who are eager to apply the knowledge they have acquired, with state agencies that need support facing pressing challenges,” says Anupam Joshi, director of UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity, and professor and chair of computer science and electrical engineering. “UMBC is proud to lead the way in partnership with the state, staying true to our motto of inclusive excellence.”
As part of the MIIC, UMBC will utilize Computing Innovation Rapid Response Teams to develop real-time solutions to IT and data concerns in state agencies. These teams will include undergraduate and graduate students trained and deployed through internships and capstone courses.
Another component of the collaboration, the MIIC Innovation Lab and Challenge Fund, will use an evidence-based approach to understand how government agencies can innovate in the computing space and can replicate successful approaches.
The collaboration will also leverage the highly successful Maryland Technology Internship Program to develop a comprehensive computing and technology workforce development strategy.
The summit drew participation from top federal, state, and private sector cybersecurity leaders, including Anne Neuberger, deputy assistant to President Biden and deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology. The event opened with remarks from Governor Hogan. Three panels followed, focusing on the national cybersecurity agenda, the state cybersecurity ecosystem, and the role of the private sector.
UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski and Dean Keith J Bowman of UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology moderated panels. UMBC alumna Tina Williams-Koroma ‘02, computer science, president and CEO of TCecure, participated as a panelist.
“There is no greater threat to the safety and security of Americans right now than the cyber vulnerabilities of the systems that support our daily lives, from our drinking water and our power supply, to our railroads and air traffic controls,” said Governor Hogan, in a statement ahead of the summit. “As the cyber capital of America, Maryland is proud to host this summit,” including “an open and productive discussion of our coordinated cybersecurity goals and initiatives as we work to protect the American people.”
Developing cyber talent
Bowman described UMBC’s role in cybersecurity workforce development within Maryland, nurturing talent and giving students opportunities to pursue related careers. He highlighted the Maryland Center for Computing Education, which is housed at UMBC and works to engage K-12 students in computing and support teacher development.
“During my four years at UMBC, our College has benefited from support for both our academic programs and research from the Governor and state,” he said. “That support has enabled us to recruit, retain, and invest in outstanding faculty and staff that are developing Maryland’s next generation of engineering and computing professionals.”
UMBC is a National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for both education and research and one of the top producers of cyber talent for the National Security Agency. The university is also home to the Cyber Dawgs team, which won the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in 2017 and the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in 2021.
Banner image: President Hrabowski (right) with Governor Hogan (center) and Anne Neuberger (left) at the July 2021 cyber summit. Photo by Maryland GovPics, Flickr CC by 2.0.