Carleton University in Ottawa opened a new computer security research centre recently in part to focus on narrowing the gap between academic-driven theoretical research and practical business applications.

The venture, funded by Ottawa-based Cloakware Corp. and the provincial and federal governments, will focus on improving computer security while still remaining true to academic research. The lab will become the cornerstone of Carleton’s security research.

Studying everything from ways to reduce a hacker’s ability to reverse engineer software to stopping viruses and worms through better understanding of their characteristics, professor Paul Van Oorschot and his team of computer scientists will delve into the internal workings of computer security.

“In security there is very little (system-wide) research on the academic side because there is no reward,” Van Oorschot said. “I want to change that.” Academic research tends to be very narrowly focused, and although Van Oorschot admits he may get some push back from the academic community, he want to focus at least some of the research on broad-scope solutions.

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