UL Lafayette was the first university in the nation to offer a Master’s in Computer Science in 1962 and the first to offer a PhD in Computer Science in Louisiana in 1968.
We are one of a handful of universities offering a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering that are preparing the next generation workforce with an end-to-end understanding of cyber-physical systems.
UL is one of the few universities with its own, on campus, power generation and distribution facilities that is also available for research. UL is also the only university in the nation operating a Business Emergency Operation Center (BEOC) that has been activated in nine natural and industrial disasters since 2010.
CCIC was founded to examine cybersecurity from the perspective of the cascading impact of a major cyber incident on the nation’s critical infrastructure, such as that experienced by the 2015 cyberattack on Ukraine Power Grid. The Center for the Study of Existential Risk in the Cambridge University, UK, now places cyberattack as a “blue sky hazard” that can take an entire power grid down for a prolonged period. A consequence of such attack would go beyond loss of data. It can completely disrupt the functioning of society, much like from a large scale natural disaster.
CCIC is built on UL Lafayette’s unique combination of strengths needed for cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. UL has an established record in cybersecurity research in the School of Computing and Informatics (CMIX), IoT research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and cyber-physical systems research in the College of Engineering, and SCADA systems to manage energy generation and distribution research in the Energy Institute (Ei). In addition, UL has also international-level expertise and recognition in emergency response research in National Incident Management System and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute, and the NSF Center for Visual and Decision Informatics (CVDI) specializing in big data analytics and visualization, and a strong record of actively participating in emergency response during natural disasters in the Louisiana Business Emergency Operation Center (LABEOC).
The Center for Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (CCIS) seeks to be a thought leader in the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure and economic interests through the application of innovative research, education, outreach, and operational support through public-private partnerships.
To establish and leverage public-private partnerships to:
- Research and develop solutions to prevent, detect, mitigate, and respond to cyber threats to critical infrastructures;
- Educate and train the workforce in the best practices of cyber risk mitigation and security;
- Facilitate the transition of research to enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure to emerging cyber threats, through operational support and outreach.
Our firsthand experience with preparing for and responding to natural disasters has taught us that, to be effective in timely development of new knowledge, public-private partnerships must support the entire process from innovation to operational support. Thus, as reflected in our mission statement, we treat the public-private partnerships as the means, and not the end, through which we will execute our vision.