Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Talk on Game Theory and Cybercrime Attracts Students from Freshmen to PhD 2 days Before Thanksgiving

When I received the invitation to speak in the Security and Privacy Seminar Series at UMass Amherst I was intrigued. The invitation came from a sophomore student whom I had met through UMass Hackathon activities by the name of Jordan Kaplan. Jordan is from Florida and has such charisma, so with some consistent prodding on his part, I had to say "Yes!"

However, the only date that I could make it was today, November 24, which, mind you, is two days before Thanksgiving, so I figured, very likely, there might be hardly anyone in the audience.

This seminar series is not part of a course and noone is forced to attend.

Hence, the only way you will have an audience is to have an intriguing topic.

I had taught my Transportation & Logistics class this morning although certain faculty cancelled classes so that students could start their journeys before the heavy travel onslaught. I enjoy teaching that class a lot. Many of my students showed up this morning.

The topic of my seminar today was: "Game Theory and Cybercrime." I was told, as the flyer below also states, that "the lectures will be taught to students with a freshman level science and math background."
When I showed up to the room for the seminar, I asked the students as they were arriving what year they were. Well, I had freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and PhD students in the audience - that was a unique audience, I must say.  There was also one female student.

I thanked the students for showing up. Giving the lecture was incredibly energizing. Of course, I love the topic and could discuss some of our most recent research  It was so much fun! My full lecture can be downloaded here.

Afterwards, we continued the discussions, and I was thrilled to have students from electrical and computer engineering, chemical engineering, and computer science, amongst others, attend. Noone forced them to come - they were there because they wanted to be and that was the best kind of audience!

I even got a chance to speak to some students afterwards who will be competing in the $1,000,000 Hult Prize competition, which starts at UMass Amherst on December 8. They asked me whether I could brainstorm with them, which I agreed to do, but after Monday, since I am, besides celebrating Thanksgiving, also working on correcting galleys for a 400 page book, "Competing on Supply Chain Quality: A Network Economics Perspective," that I wrote with Dong "Michelle" Li.  Our publisher, Springer, emailed us the galleys this morning, and wants them corrected by next Monday! Luckily, Michelle is now in Amherst so we planned our strategy. Below is a photo of Michelle and me in my office with a printout of the book and both of us standing underneath my academic genealogy tree which she gave me that goes back to Maxwell, Newton, and Galileo!
Thanks so much to all the students who showed up this afternoon. The intellectual curiosity was inspiring to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!