Friday, July 22, 2016

Australian Cyber Security Innovation Centre in Canberra

The Minister for Defence announced $12M from Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) for a joint facility at ANU (23 June 2016). The height of the planned Computer Science and Mathematics building is being increased by one floor to accommodate joint work on for an Cyber Security Innovation Centre.
The work for the new building is already underway (I can see it out of the window of my office in the existing Computer Science and Information Technology (CIST) building, where the ANU Research School of Computer Science is located.
About a year ago I was walking past the CIST seminar room (the famous N101) on the floor below my office and noticed a group of people I did not recognize. It turned out that they were from the ASD, there to present to students on Careers at ASD, but were having difficulty getting the projector to work (a common occurrence). I helped with the projector and stayed on for the talk.

Afterwards the ASD staff commented on the difficulty they had interacting with universities. I pointed out that CSIRO had solved this problem by moving on campus. CSIRO have one wing of the CIST building at ANU, while the Research School of Computer Science has the other. Between the building's two wings is a shared staff room, to facilitate informal interaction. To meet bureaucratic requirements (and show the architect had a sense of humor), the common room was designed with two doors next to each other: one for ANU and one for CSIRO, opening into the same shared space.

ANU was building a new computer science building, so I suggested ASD could pay for an extra floor to be added. This was an off-the-cuff suggestion and I did not think much more about it. No doubt I was not the only one to suggest it.

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