At Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), Stan Aungst is employing the ancient Chinese game of go to help students gain new insight and new methods for countering attacks — cyber and physical, both foreign and domestic — and to hone new cognitive skills for the 21st century.
“We’re using the game as a training ground to think strategically and tactically,” said Aungst, a senior lecturer for security and risk analysis (SRA) and senior research associate for the Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion Center in a Penn State press release February 7.
The course that Aungst is teaching, “Using Serious Games to Promote Strategic Thinking and Analysis,” introduces students to thinking visually about attacks, attack patterns, spatial analysis with individual performance evaluation via interactive virtual scenarios/missions and gaming. Paul Wright, president of the State College Go Club, recently demonstrated the game for the students in the class.
John Hill, a lecturer at the College of IST who is assisting Aungst with the course, said that the class is a “significant departure” from any other courses that the college has offered. “During the course, go is used as the means for analyzing widely divergent problems, and for developing effective tactics and strategies to address those problems by means of conversion rather than elimination,” Hill said.
Joe Cho, a sophomore SRA major who is also in the class, said the objective of the Go game is “more about efficiency” than other board games such as chess, since the goal is to capture territory using as few “stones” as possible. “The lessons are more applicable to today’s military situation,” he said.
A test will be used to measure individuals’ ability to predict cyber and physical attacks. About 100 intelligence analysts have taken the test, Aungst said. After the students in the “Go” class take the test, he added, their scores will be compared to the students who took the test last year.
- photo by John Pinkerton; effects by Chris Garlock