Trinity computer science students Dimitrije Erdeljan and Billy Cooper have won prizes in Cambridge2Cambridge (C2C), in which 110 students from 25 UK and US universities competed in a simulated cyber crisis.
C2C was co-founded in 2015 by Trinity Fellow, Professor Frank Stajano, and MIT Principal Research Scientist Dr Howard Shrobe, who is Director of MIT’s CyberSecurity@CSAIL. This year C2C was held at the University of Cambridge Computer Lab and Trinity College.
Dimitrije (pictured left above) was part of the ‘CrypticCrushers’ team that won second place in the overall competition, and will share the £4,500 prize. Dimitrije will be President of Cambridge University Cyber Security Society, 2017-2018. He won first prize in the individual heats of Inter-Ace Cyberchallenge 2016, a competition for UK universities.
Billy, and his teammate Giovanni Cherubin from Royal Holloway, came first in a sub-challenge event at C2C this year. Billy said:
The NCC Group challenge that Giovanni and I won was particularly tough. It was one of the most fun things on offer at C2C, and I’m glad we managed to do well in it.
C2C enabled students to test their skills in a ‘real world’ scenario and collaborate with peers, he said.
No lecture can give you the opportunity to test out skills you’ve learnt, or help you form networks of like-minded people. Promoting collaboration was a large part of this competition and perhaps, and as Professor Stajano has said, the network of people that has been formed will offer more to us in the long term than any of the prizes on offer.
Professor Stajano said the event had been ‘a great success’, dramatically expanding on the 25 students from Cambridge and MIT at the inaugural event last year. He said:
We want to reach out much further. I hope these enterprising and enthusiastic 110 students from around the world will now act as ambassadors, mentors and role models for young girls and boys who are thinking about what to study at university. Computer security is a thrilling and fascinating subject, a mental chess game in which you must always be one step ahead of a devious adversary.
Kids who like to solve puzzles and exercise their creativity and wit should seriously consider computing and cyber as an academic subject that will open the doors to an intellectually stimulating and (why not) financially rewarding career. We need many more of these bright people to defend the digital society of tomorrow from the cyber attacks you read about in the papers every month.
C2C 2017, endowed with over £20,000 in cash prizes, was supported by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the UK Cabinet Office and the US National Science Foundation. It is sponsored by Leidos, NCC Group and other industry partners. Mark Sayers (pictured left), Deputy Director, Cyber and Government Security at the Cabinet Office, was among those at the C2C dinner at Trinity.
Photographs: Geoff Reardon and Frank Stajano.