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Felix Koltermann

Experiencing science: A review of the event „CISPA❤️IGB“

Celebrating and researching together was the motto of "CISPA❤️IGB", the event at which the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security presented itself to the public. On September 16, thousands of visitors accepted the invitation to St. Ingbert to experience the diversity of our research in cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI) as well as the importance of knowledge and technology transfer. Our photographers and editors were on site the entire day and have compiled a review of the event. Enjoy!

Event opening with the Bergkapelle St. Ingbert

At 2 pm, the event „CISPAlovesIGB“ was off to a festive start with a concert by the Bergkapelle St. Ingbert. Hardly any other act could have been more fitting. The Bergkapelle enjoys cult status in and around St. Ingbert, which the friendly applause confirmed once more. The beautiful weather invited people to linger in the inner courtyard and to stop by the food trucks for coffee and cake or freshly made pasta before visiting the "Markt der Möglichkeiten" inside the Industriekathedrale.

Cybersecurity explained

Two stages in the adjoining room of the Industriekathedrale were dedicated to current topics in the fields of artificial intelligence and information security. There, four CISPA Faculty presented short workshops on various topics. Dr. Rebekka Burkholz, for example, spoke about the risks and opportunities of AI, while her colleague Prof. Dr. Mario Fritz explored the trustworthiness of ChatGPT and Co. Dr. Michael Schwarz used simple examples to demonstrate how insecure websites can be identified. Dr. Sven Bugiel explained the principle of phishing and how to protect against it. 

A vision for the region

At 4 p.m., the event's highlight drew a tightly-packed crowd to the main stage of the Industriekathedrale. The "CISPA Vision" was introduced by a short video clip, showing in strong, emotional images the possibilities of structural change in the Saarland, which CISPA is helping to shape. In his welcome address, St. Ingbert's lord mayor Professor Dr. Ulli Meyer focused on the added value that comes with each new job created in the region. CISPA founding director and CEO Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Backes linked the beginnings of his research activities in Saarbrücken to his vision of a globally unique research and technology center in St. Ingbert. In her speech, Saarland's Minister President Anke Rehlinger thanked Michael Backes for his commitment to the Saarland.

DIY: Experimenting and researching

Almost a third of the available space was dedicated to the offerings of both the CISPA CysecLab and the Scientific Engineering department. A variety of interactive exhibits introduced visitors young and old to the basics of IT, cryptography, and password security. Here, knowledge transfer was done in a playful way and even complex topics were conveyed in an accessible manner. The Escape Room of the CISPA CysecLab was very busy throughout the day.

At a number of booths, the Scientific Engineering department presented the demonstrators they have developed. These are devices or applications that are designed to make certain IT security challenges generally comprehensible. At the event, they demonstrated, for example, how the NFC technology, which enables cashless payments, can be used by attackers to steal data. 

Embarassment of riches: "Markt der Möglichkeiten"

At the so-called "Markt der Möglichkeiten, the city of St. Ingbert presented itself, its offerings, associations and clubs. The many booths highlighted the city's the potential and illustrated why moving your household to St. Ingbert might be worthwhile. The biggest attraction, however, was a poster exhibition with renderings of the CISPA Innovation Campus which is planned on the Alte Schmelz site. Here, visitors could get an idea of what structural change might look like in real life.

St. Ingbert presents first renderings

At one of their booths, the city of St. Ingbert presented what the CISPA Innovation Campus could look like in the future. The architects' designs aroused great interest among the visitors. The large-format pictures showed a first idea of how historic industrial architecture and modern buildings could merge to shape the future on the Alte Schmelz site.

Science Communication

A booth dedicated to science communication was hosted by the Corporate Communications department. In addition to general information about CISPA, visitors could browse all issues of the CISPA Zine, listen to excerpts from the CISPA TL;DR podcast, and get insights into a number scientific publications. The booth walls were covered in visualizations related to individual research texts. These visualizations featured QR codes that led users directly to the corresponding text on the CISPA website.

CISPA-Startups and TechTransfer 

Founders and startups are crucial for the creation of added value as well as for the transfer of scientific findings into society. In the CISPA Startup Lounge, event visitors had the opportunity to talk to some of the founders and get a good impression of the diversity of their business ideas. Later in the day, selected startups also gave longer presentations on stage.

Fun and games for children

The event also included a special children's program on the outdoor stage and in the children's tent. In addition to a very well-attended magic show, face painting for children was also very popular. The absolute highlight, however, was the "1, 2 oder 3 Show", a popular quiz show featuring the blue seal Piet Flosse. 

For more information about the event "CISPA loves IGB", please visit the event website or read the pertaining press release.