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Deakin University lays out proposed School of IT restructure – Strategy – Training & Development – Cloud – Security – Software

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Deakin University is proposing to cut academic staff in areas such as data science, cyber security and distributed systems and bring in more teaching resources focused on “emerging” technologies.

The proposed changes are part of a university-wide restructure, called Deakin Reimagined, that will result in a reduction of 180 to 220 positions across the institution.

Specific change proposals are currently the subject of staff consultation; a change proposal for the School of Information Technology, sighted by iTnews, shows reductions in several study domains, partially offset by a shift in the focus of IT-related study towards “emerging technologies” – including quantum computing, internet of things (IoT) and blockchain.

Under the proposal, two vacant positions in the school will not be replaced, and an additional 18 academic staff face cuts.

They include professors and senior lecturers in “computer and data science, artificial intelligence & machine learning”; four lecturers in “information and emerging technology”; professors and senior lecturers in “cyber security” and “distributed systems”; and lecturers in “software engineering” and “mathematics and optimisation”.

Crucially, the cuts would impact several “Level E” professors in these fields. 

Under Deakin University’s academic levels, E is the highest tier and denotes someone that has national and/or international recognition “as an eminent authority in his or her discipline”.

Five “Level E” professors would be cut under the plan, offset by the hire of one “Level E” professor in “software engineering/telecommunications”.

The intention of the restructure is in part to shift the focus of the School of Information Technology from these domains to more emerging ones.

It unveiled plans to hire 13 new academics, mostly at lower academic levels, in areas such as robotics, blockchain, quantum computing, machine learning, IoT, and cyber security.

However, the change proposal also notes that the restructure would result in a “reduction of cost” and meet a “shift in expectations around teaching delivery, technical expertise, and innovation”.

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In Worrisome Development, ‘Skimmers’ Hack Gas Pumps to Read Credit Cards

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A “skimmer” circuit board found inside a gas pump in San Diego County. Courtesy San Diego County Agriculture, Weights and Measures

A former San Diego Police Officer, Larry Avrech, had gotten a heads up from another former cop about keys being sold on the Internet that could open up gas pumps. Their first question was, is this legal?

Their second question was, why would anyone want to open up a gas pump?

The images Avrech found online showed two “gas pump replacement lock keys.”

The answer comes from Brian Krebs, a former newspaper reporter who is an expert on computers and Internet security. 

“For decades, only a handful of master keys were needed to open the vast majority of pumps in America,” Krebs said. “That has changed, but I bet there are some older stations that haven’t yet updated their locks.”  

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University of South Australia creates CISO role – Training & Development – Security

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The University of South Australia (UniSA) is recruiting its first ever chief information security officer.

The Adelaide-based university kicked off its search to find an “an exceptional leader” to ensure UniSA’s digital and information assets stay protected.

UniSA chief information officer Paul Sherlock told iTnews the new role was added to boost the university’s cyber security focus.  

“The role is all about taking our existing cyber security framework and strategic plan forward and developing investment plans going forward that we can implement,” Sherlock said.  

UniSA experienced its own cyber attack in May, forcing the school to disable desktop computer access and a number of systems, including staff email and remote access.

Sherlock said the university was able to resolve that incident “very well”.

“We invoked our cyber incident response plan and we came out of that incident very well in terms of no lost data and no data exfiltration,” he said.

Sherlock said the creation of the new CISO position was not in response to the May incident.

Rather, he said, the general threats around cyber security had increased during the pandemic, requiring a stronger response.

“I think it’s on everybody’s radar,” he said. “Criminals are more active… it’s a big business.

“Cyber is a big money-making business for criminals and so it’s getting bigger and more sophisticated all the time.”

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Computer science: The history of computer development

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(Image: Shutterstock)

Computer science continues to break boundaries today. Wearable electronic devices, self-driving cars, and video communications shape our lives on a daily basis. 

The history of computer science provides important context for today’s innovations. Thanks to computer science, we landed a person on the moon, connected the world with the internet, and put a portable computing device in six billion hands.  

In 1961, George Forsythe came up with the term “computer science.” Forsythe defined the field as programming theory, data processing, numerical analysis, and computer systems design. Only a year later, the first university computer science department was established. And Forsythe went on to found the computer science department at Stanford. 

Looking back at the development of computers and computer science offers valuable context for today’s computer science professionals.

Milestones in the history of computer science

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In the 1840s, Ada Lovelace became known as the first computer programmer when she described an operational sequence for machine-based problem solving. Since then, computer technology has taken off. A look back at the history of computer science shows the field’s many critical developments, from the invention of punch cards to the transistor, computer chip, and personal computer. 

Today, it’s impossible to mention our lives without computers. And computer science continues to have a major impact on our daily lives in immeasurable ways.

1890: Herman Hollerith designs a punch card system to calculate the US Census

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