(HEATHER KHALIFA/THE STATESMAN)
The grand opening of the NSI will occur on Sept.12 at the Wang Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (HEATHER KHALIFA/THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook University is starting a National Security Institute on campus as a result of grants from the NYSUNY 2020 vision plan. The university plans to hire six tenure-track faculty members for the cybersecurity-focused institute during the next few years, according to the university’s website.

Stony Brook’s NSI is not the first program of its kind. This focus on cybersecurity has led to the creation of centers at many other universities, such as CyLab at Carnegie Mellon and the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance at Purdue.

NSI’s goal is to be a multidisciplinary research institute, focusing on educating professionals in “defense, national and cyber-security, assurance, healthcare, and policy,” according to Dr. Radu Sion, associate professor in the Computer Science Department and director of NSI.

“The Institute’s initial focus is on Cyber Security. As such, Computer Science is one of the major disciplines represented. However it is not the only one. ECE [computer engineering] and the school of business are some of the other partner departments we working together with,” Sion said in an email.

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NSI’s grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 12 at the Wang Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a part of Computer Science Technology Day at SBU. According to Sion, NSI will mainly be introduced in a workshop and panel titled “Government Sponsored Research: A Major Enabler Cyber Security Technology Transfer.”

The event will also include opening remarks from representatives of NSI and government agencies, a computer science job and internship fair, over 100 two-minute faculty and graduate research presentations and an award ceremony, according to the department’s website.

In the past, the Computer Science Department held a career fair as a part of the STEM job fair, with research presentations taking place in smaller events. This Computer Science Technology Day will be a consolidation of those events while also celebrating the opening of NSI, according to Christine Cesaria, the director of Communications and Grants in the Computer Science Department.

“The broad reaching goal is to educate the community…about the depth of computer science research taking place at SBU and the cybersecurity expertise that we bring to New York State and the nation,” Cesaria said in an interview.

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The Computer Science Department hopes to make this an annual event, with a different focus each year. With this year’s focus being cybersecurity and NSI, speakers will include state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, Computer Science Department faculty and staff and cybersecurity funding representatives from government agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Science Foundation  and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“Other than students establishing good contacts with recruiters from top firms…I hope that students will feel a sense of pride and excitement about the research and initiatives that the Department of Computer Science is undertaking,” Cesaria said.

The grand opening of NSI will come a few weeks before the 11th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month this October, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

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