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Inside Iowa State
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November 7, 2003


Hackers, beware
For years, ISU researchers like Doug Jacobson have used computer simulations to create defenses against hackers and other information bandits. But these programs are difficult to interface with real-world equipment and they fall short of generating the perfect environment for obliterating security breaches.

But now, Jacobson and his colleagues are establishing the nation's first-of-its-kind cyber defense laboratory -- the Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment (ISEAGE -- pronounced "Ice Age").

The laboratory will allow researchers to test defense systems in an actual environment where real attacks can be used.

"Since we can't take over the real Internet, we've decided to recreate our own Internet laboratory," said Jacobson, who will serve as the laboratory's director.

The shell game
ISU researcher Donna Surge talks trash when discussing how to reconstruct past climates in Florida. That's because the important component to her research exists in ancient trash heaps, called "middens."

Surge and Florida colleagues hope to develop a new method to reconstruct southwest Florida's past climates using shells of the native Florida clam, the southern quahog.

The clamshells, discarded by the Calusa Indians over centuries prior to Spanish occupation, contain chemical signatures of past water data, which Surge hopes to translate into paleoclimate information.

The shells also have growth bands (like a tree ring), which will allow Surge to decipher annual and seasonal cycles to help determine temperature, precipitation patterns and how salty the water was.

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