Lecture notes -- Freshman seminar #1

Welcome to UC Davis

Defense Against Dark Information: microbes, microcode & memes

Course goals:

  1. We will discuss some technical aspects of defense against bioterrorism and computer viruses, but technical expertise is not a primary course goal.
  2. Some key concepts may help you make sense of your other courses, but mainly…
  3. Improve your ability to think about complex issues that have both technical and nontechnical aspects (when are analogies useful?)
  4. Improve your ability to argue constructively (make persuasive arguments and open your mind to persuasive arguments made by others)

Course structure:


The problem

Increased global trade and travel and advances in technology (Internet, biotechnology) may soon make it possible for a small country, a small group, or maybe even an individual -- almost anywhere in the world -- to release a deadly pathogen, computer virus, or anonymous rumor that will spread worldwide, causing enormous damage. Natural outbreaks like SARS and AIDS may also spread more easily than in the past.

Overall Approach


Solutions to Known Threats (e.g., smallpox, email attachments)