InfoSec 2015 – International Summer School on Information Security (cont’d)


Bilbao, 20 degrees centigrade, cloudy, 60% humidity – The clatter of dishes fills the room. Munching and mumbling noises barely dampen the sounds of metal softly scratching on pottery. Water is filled into glasses and meat is shoveled hastily onto plates. The queue is long and moving slowly, but steadily. It is 2 p.m. – a typical time for lunch in Spain.
Hungry, but filled with knowledge absorbed from this “morning’s” (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) lectures, Fabian Knirsch and Andreas Unterweger are standing in line, in the top third of the queue in front of the cafeteria. Still digesting the implications of Bart Preneel’s third and final lecture on the cryptanalytic means of the NSA and their impact on privacy, they are eagerly awaiting their turn for something a bit lighter to digest.
Lunch is a crucial part of the International Summer School on Information Security in Bilbao. Not only does it separate the morning and afternoon lectures by a one-hour break to recover and refuel, but it offers a possibility for more casual conversations between students, fellow researchers and lecturers. Privacy and security are still the prevalent themes, while contact information is exchanged, different customs are discussed and the amount of food on the conversation partners’ plates diminishes steadily.
The schedule of the summer school is very tight. Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., there are three classes in the morning and three in the afternoon, with ten-minute breaks inbetween. At least in theory, that is, since nearly all of the lecturers fully live up to the cliché of professors constantly overrunning their time limits. Most of the time, however, the additional minutes of lecture provide valuable insights in and conclusions on state-of-the-art security topics in the narrow time frame of a one-week summer school with multiple courses.
Nervous voices from behind are rising while the tiniest of spaces open up in front. Driven by hunger to the edge of pushing, they pursuade their neighbors to advance by barely half a step. Others follow. The queue moves forward. ¡Que aproveche!