Thursday, October 13, 2011

Smokin' Hot Online Cyberthreat Analysis Grad Class About To Start! (Shameless Self Promotion)

I know it is shameless.  I know it is self-promoting but I think our online cyberthreat analysis course is an extremely cool, very awesome class. 

Why?

First, it is taught by Billy Rios.  Billy is the current team lead for web and product security at Google.  Before his gig with Google, he worked at Microsoft.  The prof for this class is a soldier who comes in from the trenches to teach each class and goes back to the trenches when class is over.  It simply does not get any more real than that.

Second, the class is not just theory.  Billy brings a healthy dose of application to the class.  To quote the brochure:  "Students will be introduced to the key concepts, tools, and terminologies used by professionals in the field and apply what they learn in lab exercises that model real-world events." 

Third, it means something to me when good students speak highly of a class.  Numerous high quality students who I know and trust have taken this class -- and loved it.

Fourth, it is online and asynchronous.  That doesn't mean you can blow off assignments until the last week and then catch up.  What it does mean is that, if you are deployed or in a distant time zone or work odd hours, you can still take this class.

Fifth, it is an introductory level class and there are no pre-requisites.  It is specifically designed for someone who knows little to nothing about cyber.  It is perfect, for example, for an analyst who is interested in moving into the cyberthreat field or who just wants to have some grounding in the issues but does not have a technical background. 

Sixth, it is a graduate level class that is accredited and transfers just like any other grad class.

Seventh...oh, you get the idea.  It is a damn good class.  If you are interested in taking it or want more information, contact Linda Bremmer:  lbremmer@mercyhurst.edu 

Class begins 28 NOV and runs for 10 weeks.  The deadline for applications is 4 NOV.

If you are interested in cyberthreat analysis and are looking for a introductory course, I can think of no better place to start.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Intelligence Is All About A Partially Observable, Stochastic, Continuous, Adversarial Space...Really!

At least that is what I learned in lesson 1 of Stanford's free, online, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Course. 

Along with 160,000 of my classmates from all over the world, I am trying to learn the basics of artificial intelligence (AI).  Besides a long-time personal interest in AI (for my capstone project in law school, I designed an expert system that helped college students navigate landlord-tenant law (While it may seem trivial today, believe me, back in 1983, this was considered enormously sexy...)), at least half of AI is about how to better understand uncertain environments, something with which intelligence professionals are intimately familiar.  In fact, in lesson 1, as one of our professors, Sebastian Thrun, points out, AI can be thought of as "uncertainty management" -- words that should also resonate with most intelligence analysts.

My hope is that some of the formal ways in which AI scientists go about doing their business might have direct application to what we often tend to think of as the very squishy world of intelligence.  Since many AI applications are already concerned with what are traditionally intelligence problems, my assumption is that the language and systems used by AI professionals will help me understand and explain my own work better.

So far (I am well into Unit 2 of the course), I have not been disappointed.  While the production values are more Khan Academy than Nova, I find the short video clips, frequent quizzes and my own interest in the material to be enough to keep my attention.  The concepts that underlie AI are so embedded into almost any predictive system on the market or in the works that it is hard not to recommend the course to virtually all intelligence professionals.

While it may be too late to sign up for the course, you can view all of the videos on YouTube (I have embedded the introductory video below):

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pre-order Your "Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards" Now!

In just a few days we expect to have the hotly anticipated Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards in the building. 

While everyone who submitted a quote is still getting a free deck, many of you have asked to buy additional decks for yourselves or for your organization.

With those requests in mind, we have decided to open up a pre-order option for both individual and bulk orders.

Note:  We will fill all pre-orders first and we may run out of decks.  We intend to print more, of course, but you would have to wait.  Bottomline:  If you or your organization knows it is going to want some/many of these decks, you probably ought to go ahead and pre-order.
If you would like to pre-order less than 10 decks, please do so through the Mercyhurst bookstore.

If you would like pre-order 10 decks or more, please contact our editor, Domenic Vallone (dvallo66 at lakers dot mercyhurst dot edu) and he will be able to give you information about the discount available at the quantity you desire.

If none of this makes any sense to you, search this blog for "Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards" to get the rest of the story.