Microsoft has formed an academic advisory board to assist the company with its Trustworthy Computing initiative. The board consists of 14 people from various US and European universities. The board's purpose is to create a think tank of academic opinion regarding Microsoft's ideas for better Windows security. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

David Ladd, manager of external research programs for Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft Research, said "The goal is to learn from each other. By turning to academia for advice and direction, Microsoft can avoid taking missteps in technology areas that others may have researched in depth already. Plus, we know Microsoft initiatives can benefit from scrutiny by outside experts who don’t have preconceived notions about how something should be accomplished, from both a technology and policy perspective. Microsoft has long realized that to achieve needed systemic change, it’s important to involve academia early on."

Ladd said Microsoft views security as not only a technology and computer science-related problem, but also as a social problem. The company hopes to use the board as a means to impress upon academics the need to offer more security concepts in technical education.

The board members have a range of experience that could help Microsoft in several areas of its security initiative. Board members are knowledgeable in areas of expertise that include cryptography, programming languages, compilers, fault tolerance, distributed computing, malicious code, and more.

The company said its academic board is an addition to its other venues for gathering input from government and industry. Microsoft plans to meet with the board biannually to discuss topics that the company perceives to be of the greatest importance. Ladd said that Microsoft "will pay close attention to the comments, determine whether any suggestions are policy-based or technology-based, and work to extract a series of action items from the board’s discussions over time. We expect to act on board recommendations insofar as they mesh with changing business conditions and complement Microsoft's business model."

Board members include Dr. Martín Abadi, professor, University of California at Santa Cruz; Dr. Elisa Bertino, professor, University of Milan, Italy; Dr. Dawson R. Engler, assistant professor, Stanford University; Dr. Virgil D. Gligor, professor, University of Maryland; Dr. Richard A. (Dick) Kemmerer, professor, University of California at Santa Barbara; Dr. Chris Mitchell, professor, Royal Holloway, University of London; Dr. J. Gregory (Greg) Morrisett, associate professor, Cornell University; Dr. David A. Patterson, professor, University of California at Berkeley; Dr. Fred B. Schneider, professor, Cornell University; Dr. Eugene H. Spafford, professor, Purdue University; Dr. Neeraj Suri, professor, TU Darmstadt, Germany; Dr. Vijay Varadharajan, professor, Macquarie University, Australia; Dr. James A. Whittaker, professor, Florida Institute of Technology; and Dr. Jeannette Wing, professor, Carnegie Mellon University.

The company said it has also formed a privacy committee "that consists of five legal specialists with significant experience in privacy-enabling technologies and privacy policies."

The privacy committee includes Fred H. Cate, professor, Indiana University School of Law; Deirdre Mulligan, professor, Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic (at UC Berkeley); Paul M. Schwartz, professor, Brooklyn Law School; Peter P. Swire, professor, Ohio State University; and Eugene Volokh, professor, UCLA School of Law.