Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, one student's work has become so compelling that companies want to seize it, government officials want to suppress it, and terrorists -- if they could get their hands on it -- would find a veritable treasure map.
UK readers: another dissertation that for Blair to read?
This George Mason University graduate student, Sean Gorman, has mapped every business and industrial sector in the American economy, layering on top the fiber-optic network that connects them.
He can click on a bank in Manhattan and see who has communication lines running into it and where. He can drill into a cable trench between Kansas and Colorado and determine how to create the most havoc with a hedge clipper. Using mathematical formulas, he probes for critical links, trying to answer the question: "If I were Osama bin Laden, where would I want to attack?"
"I'm this grad student," said Gorman, 29, amazed by his transformation from geek to cybercommando. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I'd be briefing government officials and private-sector CEOs."
Invariably, he said, they suggest his work be classified. "Classify my dissertation? Crap. Does this mean I have to redo my PhD?" he said. "They're worried about national security. I'm worried about getting my degree."
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News source: The Washington Post