In 2016, Stanford students started hacking for defense—that is, they took on real projects from National Security Agency, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Army Cyber Command, the Veterans Administration, and other agencies with defense-related problems. The students actually came up with prototype solutions.
The innovative Hacking For Defense (H4D) class, which requires each student team to conduct at least 100 interviews with defense industry “clients,” caught on quickly. Today, according to Steve Blank, an instructor at Stanford and one of the creators of the curriculum, eight universities in addition to Stanford have offered or will offer a Hacking for Defense class this year: Boise State, Columbia, Georgetown, James Madison, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Southern California, and the University of Southern Mississippi. The class has spun out Hacking for Diplomacy, Hacking for Energy, and other targeted classes that use the same methodology.