CBI Completes NSF Security Project
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CBI Completes NSF Computer Security

History Project

We are pleased to report the completion this fall of our successful NSF-funded project, “Building an Infrastructure for Computer Security History.”  We reported on this project following our June 2014 workshop that brought together computer security professionals with academic historians and analysts. It was a notable group with intense and focused discussion and interchange.  Subsequently to the workshop, we worked closely with authors and this spring published a set of six peer-reviewed articles in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.  Support came from National Science Foundation (NSF CNS-TC 1116862).

Steve Lipner presenting at CBI’s June 2014 Computer Security History Workshop.

The project had four major deliverables, and we achieved success with each.  First, we completed a set of 31 oral history interviews with a truly stellar list of computer security pioneers.  Our first interview in May 2012 was with Roger Schell while our final two interviews in June 2015 were with William Wulf and Anita Jones, each distinguished computer scientists.  The recordings are 1.5 to 5 hours in length, totaling 84.5 hours, and the transcripts total 2,320 pages.  A complete list of interviewees is available on the main page of the second deliverable, a knowledge-networking wiki site.1 The wiki site contains an unusually rich set of computer-security resources, including publications, timelines, conferences — a total of 230 entries.  It has been used already in education, and we hope to expand it during a follow-on project.  A third deliverable was a set of scholarly publications, including the first set of Annals articles, a second set to be published next year, and six additional CBI presentations at scholarly conferences.  The fourth major result is a set of print and archival collections documenting computer security, which includes collections from Stephen Lukasik, Steve Lipner, Lance Hoffman, Thomas W. Bailey, Gene Spafford, and Richard Kain as well as archival materials from AUTODIN-2 (1964-2010).

Projects such as this one are major opportunities for shaping the field of computer history, and they fully engage the CBI staff.  Jeffrey Yost conducted the majority of the interviews.  Three graduate-student research assistants (Nicholas Lewis, Erik Norquest, and Jonathan Clemens) worked on the project at various times, while two undergraduates (Richard Halkyard and Patrick Severin) made significant contributions as well.  CBI’s admin Katie Charlet efficiently handled the logistics of recordings, transcripts, editing, and posting of interviews, while Arvid Nelsen is in charge of all of CBI’s archival and print acquisitions.  If CBI’s earlier projects in networking and software history are any guide, the short-term results of CBI publications and collections lead to longer-term developments where additional researchers draw on the “infrastructure” of CBI resources, including oral histories and archival collections.  And for immediate results, have a look at the sources for Wikipedia entries on Dorothy Denning, Peter Denning, Lance Hoffman, Butler Lampson, Carl Landwehr, Peter Neumann, Susan H. Nycum, Donn Parker, Roger Schell, Gene Spafford, and Tom Van Vleck.  You’ll find CBI resources appearing everywhere.2

Thomas J. Misa

1 The wider set of security-related CBI oral histories, including those done with James Bidzos, Martin Hellman, Donn Parker, Peter Patton, and Willis Ware prior to this NSF project are at <http://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/ 11299/59493/browse?type=subject&order=ASC&rpp=20&value=Computer+security>.

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