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Home | Seminars and Symposia | Past seminars/symposia: Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Controlled globalization: An antidote for cyberwarfare


Hermann Maurer
Computer Science
Graz University of Technology, Austria

Tuesday, December 7, 2004
5:00 pm

Coffman Memorial Union Theater


Hermann Maurer

THE NUMBER OF VIRUSES AND OTHER COMPUTER THREATENING SOFTWARE is increasing at an alarming speed. Even if we act decisively (which we won't), the likelihood of a large scale and long-term failure of all computers and computer networks is high. Such failure will not be caused by some super-hacker, but rather by a well-planned cyber-attack. The consequences of a serious failure are catastrophic. Since our dependency on computers and computer networks is steadily increasing, consequences will be worse the later such a breakdown occurs! In this talk we argue why a failure is likely and what it will do to our civilization if we do not take precautions that involve technical, economical and political decisions involving "controlled globalization" that are fairly far-reaching.


Born in Vienna, Austria, Maurer studied mathematics and computer science at the universities of Vienna and Calgary, and was Assistant and later Associate Professor for Computer Science at the University of Calgary 1966-1971. He then took on various positions as full professor or visiting professor at a number of universities including Waterloo, Canada; SMU, Dallas; University of Denver; University of Brasilia, Brazil; University of Karlsruhe, Germany; University of Auckland, New Zealand and Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia. He is now at the Graz University of Technology specializing in networked multimedia systems and their applications to knowledge management, learning, digital libraries, museums, and societal implications of new developments in computers. As a hobby he is writing a series of Science Fiction novels. Some of his main accomplishments include: Established a Faculty of Computer Science with about 300 researchers and 4000 students; head of two research institutes in Graz; published some 600 papers and 20 books, half of them technical, the most recent on Learning Support Systems for Organizational Learning (2004) and others Science Fiction; supervised some 500 M.Sc. and 40 Ph.D. theses; founded 16 companies and a number of international conferences and journals; two honorary doctorates; member of two academies of science; many national distinctions including the Large Austrian Cross of Honor for Arts and Science; and project leader of over 20 multimillion-dollar projects. For more information on Maurer please see: