about us

A Brief Overview of the History of the Center

The Security and Assurance in Information Technology (SAIT) Laboratory was established in October 1999 by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of Florida State University (FSU), with a $125,000 grant and space for three laboratories in the same building that houses the FSU Computer Science Building, in response to Presidential Decision Directive 63 which calls for a comprehensive national effort to address the information security problem, including private-public partnerships, and increased education, training, research, and development. The function of SAIT is to provide an environment that fosters applied research in security technology, and facilities for research and graduate level teaching in IA allowing. SAIT helped establish FSU as an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE), in 2002, and to renew the CAE status in 2003, 2006 and 2009. SAIT helped establish FSU as an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Research (CAE-R) in 2009.
FSU has been recently re-designated by NSA/DHS for the period 2016-2021, a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE/CD) and a Center of Academic Excellence in Research (CAE-R).

To ensure the future success of the original SAIT Laboratory a Florida State University Center was established in August 2008, the Center for Security and Assurance in IT, C-SAIT. The mission, goals and scope of the Center are those of SAIT Laboratory, but the Center has not only gained University-wide recognition, but has also set the foundation for more opportunities that will assist in the process of fulfilling its true potential and ensure the success of C-SAIT for years to come.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center for Security an Assurance in IT (C-SAIT) is to serve as a focal point for members of different academic disciplines, government, and industry to carry out world-class research and to advance the practice and public awareness of information technology security and assurance through education and public service. The focus of C-SAIT is on innovation and learning. The primary research function of the Center is to provide an environment to foster world-class, applied research in information security technology. The Center provides facilities that are used for research and graduate level teaching in security and information assurance.

Corporate Sponsorship

The C-SAIT Corporate Sponsorship Program fosters mutually beneficial, long-term relationships among our sponsors, faculty and students. Among other benefits, our sponsors enjoy high visibility within the C-SAIT community and C-SAIT faculty and students benefit from resources and expertise provided by the sponsor community. Sponsorships are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Headed by Dr Mike Burmester, C-SAIT has a wealth of knowledge in security and assurance. With existing projects in, for example, Network and Wireless Security, Security and Privacy in Databases and Data Management, Query processing and indexing in large Databases, Intrusion Detection, Protocol Security, Secure Software, RFID Security, and Electronic Voting, the Center is on sound research footing. The added multi-disciplinary interactions with the FSU Departments of Mathematics, Information Management Systems, Communications, and Information Studies and the School of Criminology, the FAMU/FSU Department of Electrical Engineering, and the FSU Law School brings breadth in understanding of the technological and practical perspectives of information security in the Internet Age.

C-SAIT achievements

C-SAIT has provided an unprecedented program to train and educate students in Information Assurance (IA) at FSU. Inter-disciplinary cooperation deepens the understanding of the technological and practical perspectives of information security in the Internet age. The Center regularly collaborates with FSU departments and colleges including Mathematics, Communication, Criminology, Engineering, Information, Law, as well as the FAMU Computer & Information Sciences Department and Tallahassee Community College.

As of 2002, the Center was awarded more than 70 IA scholarships, funded by NSF and DoD. In addition, the research efforts of five doctoral candidates and one post-doctoral student have been supported by IA grants. Since 2003, students from the C-SAIT program have produced 25 IA publications either on their own or in conjunction with a faculty member. The Center will continue to pursue standards of excellence in education by recruiting and retaining outstanding undergraduate students.

The diverse faculty has expertise ranging from the security of information to the proactive approach of detecting and preventing cyber crime. During a time in which individuals, businesses, governments and even the world economy are increasingly dependent on emerging technologies, the C-SAIT faculty is unique in its ability to train future professionals in IA. Their accomplishments include 18 published journal papers and 49 published conference papers since 2003. In addition, the faculty has spearheaded a strong outreach program. While this effort has had a local focus, faculty members have extended their outreach to the national and international IA communities. Between 2002 and 2006, the Center organized six workshops and summer schools on the FSU campus. The Center was also responsible for organizing workshops throughout the country focusing on topics like cyber security and cyber terrorism, public key cryptography, and critical infrastructure protection. C-SAIT also hosted a workshop on the security of Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks and Sensors (MADNES 05) in Singapore, sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office.

Collaborative research with industry has been and will continue to be a priority of the program. The Center has already established a corporate sponsorship program with such industry giants as Hoshida Corp., Raytheon, and Datamaxx, and is on sound research footing with over $5M in funding for existing projects in:

  • Intrusion Detection
  • Secure Software
  • Wireless Security
  • Elliptic Curve Cryptography
  • Security Protocols
  • RFID Security
  • Electronic Voting

By obtaining funding for current and future such projects, C-SAIT expands existing resources and facilities.

C-SAIT has a long history of inter-collegiate collaboration. National partner schools include Iowa State University, the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, George Mason University and Purdue University. International partners include, the University of Calgary, Carlton University (Ottawa), Ecole Normal Supérieure (Paris), La Sapienza (Rome), the Ionian University (Corfu), Queensland University of Technology (Australia) and Tsukuba University (Tokyo). In the local community, SAIT has a strong track record of outreach highlighted by the creation of an annual IA summer school that is open to the public. In 2003, the Center joined forces with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a historically black college also located in Tallahassee to establish an IA education program at FAMU. The Center shares faculty, curriculum and facilities in order to reach a more diverse group of students. Participation in this alliance provides C-SAIT affiliates at FAMU access to security experts, interaction with center sponsors, and early access to research findings.

C-SAIT Timeline

A few years ago, the Computer Science Department at FSU decided to focus on the topic of "Trusted Systems" in particular for hiring. At that time, there were no experts among faculty members on Information Security at FSU although Information Assurance is one of the most important aspects of Trusted systems design.


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