School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Mrs Rosanne Els (front row, second from right) with URISC attendees in Denver, Colorado.

Computer Science Lecturer at International Cybersecurity Conference in the USA

A Lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS), Mrs Rosanne Els, attended a week-long workshop in Colorado in the United States on the topic of Understanding Risk in Shared CyberEcosystems (URISC).

In addition to receiving training on cybersecurity, Els attended the international SuperComputing (SC17) conference – a flagship high-performance computing (HPC) industry conference and technology showcase which attracted more than 10 000 participants.

Els was among URISC applicants awarded travel grants via a competitive application process through STEM-Trek Nonprofit, which supports travel and professional development for HPC-curious scholars from under-represented groups and regions.

Beneficiaries of STEM-Trek programmes are encouraged to ‘pay it forward’ by promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics in their home communities.

Applicants included cybersecurity professionals, HPC systems administrators, educators and network engineers who support research computing at the US and sub-Saharan African colleges and universities.

Workshop delegates represented 11 countries and 12 US states.

Highlights of the workshop included a URISC introduction to open-source materials developed by the Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure (CTSC) at Indiana University.

STEM-Trek Director Ms Elizabeth Leake presented a session on coaching in the art of external relations, specifically on how to foster administrative and legislative buy-in for a greater cybersecurity investment on university campuses.

Specialists from Internet2InCommon, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Illinois’ CTSC and the South African Centre for High Performance Computing, and Indiana University’s CTSC, presented on various cybersecurity topics.

Els teaches Computer Science and programming modules in SMSCS and has interests in game playing as a learning aid, the use of Lego Mindstorms to aid problem-solving skills, data mining, internet technologies, and e-commerce for small enterprises and high-performance computing. Els, who has been at UKZN since 1994 pursuing innovative teaching, is keen to see an improvement in the gender imbalance in Computer Science.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph supplied by Elizabeth Leake