CCICADA Releases Education Modules to Train Next Generation of Homeland Security Researchers

Teachers Can Download Instructional Modules Explaining the Mathematics and Science behind the Center’s Research


Students are seen here creating CT-scan, 3-dimensional images as part of their instruction in 3-D tomography using one of CCICADA’s education modules.
Photo credit: Greg Hancox
View CCICADA’s complete library of instruction modules.

The homeland-security research group CCICADA has released three new student-instruction modules designed to introduce college and high school students to the mathematics and data science behind the Center’s research projects.

The new modules are additions to a library of technical instructional units that cover topics like forensics, cryptography, tomography, and foolproof ciphers to name a few.

Over the past six years, CCICADA, comprised of 17 partner institutions, has been taking lessons learned from its research projects into the classroom by producing and distributing these modules. Tens of thousands of students in grades 10-16 have used these them.

The modules are full of mathematical and data-science insights and exercises, and they contain detailed instructions for teachers and faculty on how to use them for two weeks of classroom instruction. They were written by professors from colleges and universities who are experts in their fields and outstanding educators. The new modules are:

Competition or Collusion: Game Theory in Security, Sports and Business introduces students to game theory concepts and methods, starting with zero-sum games and then moving on to more complex non-zero-sum games.

Cryptography in Forensics introduces students to The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm (MD5), one of the current standards for data integrity verification in law enforcement and digital forensics.

Network Capacity develops the skills and perspectives used in modeling real-world situations as networks using text messaging, cell phone, and other networks familiar to students as a motivating starting point.

Midge Cozzens, CCICADA Director of Education at Rutgers University, notes that threats to the safety and health of the American people, from hackers and terrorists to extreme weather events, are constantly multiplying.

“The front-line of defense against these threats are the researchers, scientists and responders who have been trained to understand, anticipate and counter them.” Cozzens says. “To keep pace with these threats, CCICADA and other centers like it are working to educate and train the next generation of homeland security experts.”

Demonstrating the usefulness of homeland security research is a crucial part of CCICADA’s education mission. Most of the modules are based on current homeland security research conducted by CCICADA. They are also based on research by other US Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence that partner with CCICADA. They reflect a true integration of research and education, moving current research to the classroom as rapidly as possible.

Cozzens points out that the modules program, in addition to building on research at other Centers of Excellence, is enhanced by having the other centers use the modules for their own instructional purposes and share them for others to use. This takes advantage of the network of DHS centers to help prepare future homeland security workers.

As CCICADA’s education director, Cozzens is tasked with running a variety of programs to educate teachers, faculty and students about the mathematics and data science behind CCICADA research programs. The education modules are but one tool the center uses in its education outreach.



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