TERRE HAUTE - Two teams of students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology are heading to Washington state this weekend. The teams from the institute's Computer Security Club are competing in the final round of Microsoft's Build the Shield cybersecurity competition.

As part of the competition, the students must defend a virtual network from the cyber-attacks of other teams. Two of Rose-Hulman's three teams made it through the qualifying round, which was conducted online in January. Those two teams are among 50 other finalists competing this weekend.

"Our students did an outstanding job working together to hack their way to the national finals, said Sid Stamm, associate professor of computer science and software engineering. "This result not only showcases the students’ unusual skills, but Rose-Hulman’s expanding cybersecurity academic program."

Rose-Hulman says the competition is designed to give students experience in securing a machine and conducting and reacting to cyber-attacks found in the real world. Completing the mission can sometimes take up to six hours or more.

"It’s a lot of fun," said Adam Seitz, a first-year computer engineering student. "There are problems that most people would say are impossible to solve. We look at things differently. Every problem has an answer and we’re going to work together to find that correct solution."