Auburn cyber expert participates in panel discussion on the AI workforce

Published: Jan 8, 2020 1:06 PM

By Chris Anthony

Auburn Engineering associate professor Daniel Tauritz offered insight into how higher education is helping develop an artificial intelligence-ready workforce during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., in December.

Tauritz, chief cyber AI strategist for the Auburn Cyber Research Center, was one of four experts invited to discuss challenges facing the AI workforce and how to build a solid foundation for those entering the field.

Tauritz highlighted how Auburn Engineering is customizing doctoral programs for employees in the Huntsville area defense community who want to advance their knowledge in the interconnected areas of AI, cyber and national security.

“We get professors with [national security] clearances who will work with them so they can get their Ph.D. on the project that directly benefits the agency, and I think that’s been very successful,” Tauritz said during the panel discussion.

However, Tauritz noted that competition for AI specialists between private industry and academia is a challenge when it comes to educating the next-generation workforce.

“We see a big brain drain in academia for AI and data science,” Tauritz said. “There’s entire departments where all the AI specialists have been hired away by companies offering double or triple salaries. That is going to affect the workforce that everybody here is trying to hire.

“Having companies and government invest in universities to support these programs, offer endowed professorships that get the best and brightest back into academia to design the next generation of AI that you all then use and the students who learn about it that you will hire, I think is really important. Partnerships between government, corporations and academia is the key here.”

Tauritz joined Auburn University’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering faculty in 2019. He is the founding director of Auburn’s Biomimetic Artificial Intelligence Research Group, or BioAI, where he leads a wide range of projects involving students, faculty and national lab scientists to solve complex problems through the development of cutting-edge AI technologies. 

Tauritz has also held prestigious cybersecurity research appointments with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

The panel was sponsored by the Intelligence National Security Alliance along with Defense One and geographic information system company Esri. Other panelists were Kathleen Featheringham, director of AI strategy and training at Booz Allen Hamilton; Brian Zaczek, scientific advisor for strategic tradecraft and technology at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; and Joel Grimm of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Center.

Watch Tauritz’s full remarks during the panel discussion below.

Media Contact: Chris Anthony,, 334.844.3447
Daniel Tauritz (second from left) participated in a panel discussion titled "The Human Machine Team: Building an AI Ready Workforce"

Daniel Tauritz (second from left) participated in a panel discussion titled "The Human Machine Team: Building an AI Ready Workforce"

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