Internationally known computer science expert to speak at UGA on likelihood, consequences of cyber-a

Athens, Ga. – With the number of viruses and other computer-threatening software increasing at alarming speed, the likelihood of a large scale and long-term failure of all computers and computer networks is very high, according to Hermann Maurer, an internationally known expert in computer science who will speak at the University of Georgia.

Such a failure will not be caused by some superhacker but rather by a well-planned cyber-attack, and the consequences of such an attack will be catastrophic, he said.

Maurer, dean of faculty of computer science at Graz University of Technology in Austria, will discuss these issues in a lecture titled “Can We Avoid Catastrophic Failures of Computer Networks?” on Monday, March 21, at 2:30 p.m. in room 213 of Sanford Hall on the UGA campus.

In his visit to UGA, Maurer will discuss why he believes failure is likely and what the consequences of that failure will be unless precautions are taken that involve essential and far-reaching technical, economic and political decisions.

Maurer, who was born in Vienna, Austria, studied mathematics and computer science at the universities of Vienna and Calgary. He served as assistant and associate professor of computer science at the University of Calgary from 1966 to 1971. After serving in various positions as full professor at a number of universities, Maurer joined the faculty at Graz University of Technology in 1978.

His research has focused on networked multimedia systems and their applications to knowledge management, learning, digital libraries and museums, and societal implications of new developments in computers.

As dean of faculty of computer science, he directs more than 200 researchers and about 2,500 students. He has published some 600 papers and 20 books, half of them technical, the most recent titled Learning Support Systems for Organizational Learning in 2004. He has founded 16 companies and a number of international conferences and journals. He serves as the head of two research institutes in Austria. As a hobby, Maurer writes science fiction novels.

Maurer’s talk at UGA is cosponsored by the College of Education’s department of educational psychology and instructional technology and Terry College of Business’ department of management information systems.

The first 100 people to attend Maurer’s talk will receive a free copy of his book The Paranet: The Breakdown of the Internet.