Hacking for Defense (H4D) will teach students how to work with the Department of Defense (DoD) to address the nation's emerging threats on the cyber-physical front. 

Following a proven approach developed at Standford University, student teams will rapidly develop products and services using lean-startup methods that solve military and intelligence problems and provide solutions that meet mission needs.  The course follows a  customer-centered hypothesis-testing approach, Lean Launchpad, for developing mission models and is well-suited for technology development and startups.  This approach provides a platform that can develop solutions in weeks versus current acquisition practices that can stall or derail innovation.  

The technical focus of Pitt’s H4D course is Cyber-Physical Systems---more generally described as mechatronics or the Internet of Things.  A great deal of DoD problems are cyber-physical in nature.  It is projected that worldwide there will be 34 billion internet-connected devices by the year 2020, many of which will be mechanical in nature (e.g. cars and appliances). This course will address problems on this front to the benefit of the student and agency sponsors.

Pitt is searching for demanding problems to challenge teams and for program sponsors who will play an integral role in the development of solutions.  No funding is required.  Instead, program sponsors receive the following benefit from participating in Hacking for Defense:

  • problems solutions that meet the needs and mission of their organization;
  • detailed insight into the ultimate needs of users and how the solutions fit in their mission;
  • deeper understanding of the stakeholders, deployment issues, costs, resources, and ultimate mission value;
  • introduction to students who know how to rapidly develop technology to meet customer needs

Interested sponsors can contact the Hacking for Defense organizers:

William (Buddy) W. Clark

Daniel G. Cole