Students ‘get played’ at Cyber Storm Competition

May 12, 2016


Staff Reporter | klb072@ latech.edu


Team R.O.B. working to solve a problem. Photo by Brian Blakely

Team R.O.B. working to solve a problem. Photo by Brian Blakely


In a world of advancing technology, it is possible to encounter technical difficulties which need to be fixed by a computer scientist or cyber engineer, especially if that technology includes being hacked.



Louisiana Tech’s computer science and cyber engineering degree programs hosted its 2016 Cyber Storm competition May 5 in the Tonk where students both competed in challenges to test their coding skills and took their final exam.



Jean Gourd, an associate professor of computer science and cyber engineering, said the event consisted of eight teams of students who competed against each other to test their skills in cyberspace defense, attack and adaptability.



“Other than being their final, the point of this competition is to have students experience real, fast-paced problems like they would in everyday life or working at any company,” Gourd said.



He said the difference between this year’s Cyber Storm and the past six was the number of students participating. Gourd said every year they learned what worked and ways to make the event better and more fun for students.



“We evolved from just defending and attacking where students were trying to either hack someone else’s system or protect their own from being hacked to include different challenges like capture the flag and scavenger hunts where they have to find clues in order to move on,” Gourd said. “All these challenges have focal points for the students to make them think on their feet while working with others.”



Mitchell Brandone, a junior cyber engineering major, said the Cyber Storm competition was for sophomores taking the Computer Science 442 or Cyber Engineering 301 class.



“We spent the entire quarter preparing for this competition,” Brandone said. “The idea was to teach us different techniques and give us ways to test our abilities in a psuedo-world environment.”



He said at the beginning of the competition they faced multiple problems. Brandone said they were supposed to have seven team members in all, but one did not show and Gourd pulled two, which dropped them down to a four-person team. He said another problem they faced was their server not wanting to work within the first half-hour.

Joseph Hardy, a junior computer science major attempts to complete a challenge. Photo by Brian Blakely

Joseph Hardy, a junior computer science major attempts to complete a challenge. Photo by Brian Blakely


“This competition is a lot more stressful than I imagined,” Brandone said. “We’re facing real-world problems and it just goes to show how things don’t go as expected.”



Tina Boutin, a freshman general studies major, said she had never been to a Cyber Storm competition before, but was there to support her brother.



“This is my brother’s first year competing, and to be honest, I didn’t know it started until I heard the computer speak,” Boutin said.



She said the event was really useful because it represented the students’ final and thought it was a good way for them to show what they have learned. Boutin said she did not know this kind of contest happened at Tech and thought it would give students a taste of what to expect working in their field and having to fix certain computer problems.



“Anyone who is interested in technology should come see what happens at Cyber Storm competitions,” Boutin said. “I don’t know much about any of this, but watching them prepare for this and actually competing is very intriguing.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *