MIT and University of Cambridge to face off in “Cambridge v. Cambridge” hackathon

MIT and University of Cambridge to face off in “Cambridge v. Cambridge” hackathon

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and at the University of Cambridge in England will compete in a multi-day cybersecurity hackathon, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday.

The competition, dubbed “Cambridge v. Cambridge,” is expected to motivate students at both institutions to develop a variety of efficient and powerful cybersecurity technologies. According to a White House press release, the competition’s purpose is “to enhance cybersecurity research at the highest academic level within both countries to bolster our cyber defenses.”

In addition to demonstrating a high degree of computer science and engineering expertise, students will need to successfully employ high-caliber business and interpersonal skills in order to address venture capitalists, confront the demands of policymaking, and write press releases concerning their projects.

The leaders also announced a bilateral agreement to establish and fund a new Fulbright Cybersecurity Award, which will enable achieving scholars from both countries to conduct six months of cybersecurity research.

“We are excited to partner with the University of Cambridge on this academic initiative with our students,” Howard Shrobe, principal research scientist at CSAIL told the MIT News Office. “[We] hope that this will be the first of many events aimed at bringing together these two institutions.”

—William Rodriguez

Anonymous over 9 years ago


Will Conway over 9 years ago

We've corrected the typo. Thanks!

Anonymous over 9 years ago

Is 'cybersecurity competition' codeword for new techniques for surveillance that target US citizens, foreign nationals and investigative journalists? Is this another recruiting exercise to lure the useful idiots on campus to NSA and GCHQ? Shouldn't there be a campus wide debate on matters of grave consequences, especially when MIT purports itself to be a truly global institute of learning?

(This is my second posting to the comment section and I hope it gets published this time around.)

Anonymous over 9 years ago


You make decent points, but MIT students are sheltered so they'll, sadly, dismiss you as paranoid. Some points:

(a) I think you overstate the case re:"cybersecurity competition" being codeword for surveillance. You're seeing a pattern but I think it's more subtle than that.

(b) The sentence about "recruiting exercise" is roughly correct, but again, it's more subtle than a "recruiting exercise." We do live in an unfree world, but I don't think it's the NSA and GCHQ directly controlling the competition, as the metaphor implies.

(c) On campus wide debate. I don't think this will improve the problem, sadly. "Surveillance state" is just one of many, many problems; if you focus all energy into solving that one, more problems will fester. The problem is not insufficient dialogue, but the structure of government and the fabric of culture itself.

The US is pretty screwed and I respect that you see that and, as a well-intentioned guy, are trying to save it. Just trying to give you some pointers.