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The new group consists of more than 50 researchers and 80 students from a variety of disciplines, all creating new information security technologies and practices.

Carnegie Mellon's CyLab combines experts into an information security powerhouse.

Security | Carnegie Mellon University has earned a reputation as one of the primary centres in the world for information security research. Now the university has created CyLab, a cooperative effort between the school's CERT Coordination Centre and several Carnegie Mellon schools, including the College of Engineering, the School of Computer Science, and the School of Public Policy and Management. "We wanted this to be a universitywide strategy and put our stake in the ground saying: 'Cybersecurity is where we're going to make a difference'," says Pradeep Khosla, co-director of CyLab and head of Carnegie Mellon's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

The new group consists of more than 50 researchers and 80 students from a variety of disciplines, all creating new information security technologies and practices. Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute (which Khosla also heads) will function as CyLab's education arm, providing opportunities for students to focus on cutting-edge information security.

CyLab funding will come through a combination of public and private money. Congress recently granted the organisation $US6 million for security research. In return, the US government will receive rights to use CyLab research for national security efforts. Private companies can also get involved, ranging from basic memberships that start at $US25,000 per year to "founding corporate partners" contributing millions. Donors at the lower levels reserve the right to use CyLab technologies internally. Founding partners, meanwhile, will be able to commercialise CyLab research. (No founding partners have yet signed on, but Khosla says several negotiations are under way.)

Khosla declines to provide a timetable for when CyLab research could be commercialised, but he notes that the group is staffed and already making progress. As a result, technologies could move out of the university in as little as a year.

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