Tauritz tapped as interim director of Auburn Cyber Research Center

Published: Jul 28, 2020 11:48 AM

By Chris Anthony

Associate professor Daniel Tauritz has been named interim director of the Auburn Cyber Research Center, according to an announcement from Dean of Engineering Christopher B. Roberts.

In this role, Tauritz will lead more than a dozen faculty and staff affiliated with the center, which integrates cutting-edge engineering technology with research to develop innovative methods of protecting our nation's cybersecurity. The center’s research has focused on four main thrusts: secure software engineering, cloud security and forensics, artificial intelligence (AI) for security and advanced manufacturing security.

Tauritz’s appointment began retroactively on June 1.

“Daniel was already playing a key role in the Auburn Cyber Research Center, so he was an excellent choice to lead the center during this interim period,” Roberts said. “He has an impressive record of applying AI approaches to solving national security problems in cyber, critical infrastructure and other areas. I am confident in his ability to elevate the center’s impressive body of work through this new role.” 

Tauritz came to Auburn in 2019 following 17 years on the faculty of the Missouri University of Science and Technology. His primary research interest is the creation of novel AI techniques to solve complex real-world problems, with an emphasis on applications in the national security and cyber domains, ranging from adversarial models in cyber (physical) security to evolving graph algorithms for network security. He is an internationally recognized researcher in the AI subspecialties of evolutionary computing and the automated design of algorithms employing hyper-heuristics. 

He holds prestigious research appointments with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories, both Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) operated on behalf of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. At Missouri S&T, Tauritz was director of the Natural Computation Laboratory, and at Auburn, he is director of the Biomimetic National Security Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (BONSAI Lab), Auburn director of the LANL/AU Cyber Security Sciences Institute (CSSI) and an affiliated faculty member with Auburn’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security.

“It is a great honor to be entrusted with leading the venerable Auburn Cyber Research Center,” Tauritz said. “My vision for the center is to strategically focus on a few select niches to become nationally competitive in; for example, in conjunction with the McCrary Institute, establishing Auburn as a national player in AI for national security cross-cutting all disciplines, departments and colleges. Furthermore, I plan to diversify the center’s portfolio of funding sponsors, such as with FFRDCs, and expand the center’s team to broaden the representation of faculty and students working in related areas across campus.”

Tauritz earned four degrees, including a doctorate in computer science, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he also spent a stint performing research for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Earlier this year, Tauritz sat down with the #GINNing podcast team to discuss his research and path to Auburn. Listen to the podcast below.


Tauritz succeeds David Umphress, who led the center for nearly three years. Umphress will return to his faculty role full time while also serving as a senior advisor to the Auburn Cyber Research Center. 

“I want to commend David for his outstanding leadership of the Auburn Cyber Research Center,” Roberts said. “During his tenure as director, David secured millions of dollars in grant funding to advance the center’s research impact while also providing high-quality educational opportunities to a large number of cyber students. Moreover, he significantly elevated the center’s partnerships with private industry and governmental agencies. We are thankful for all he did to advance Auburn’s cyber research initiatives.”

Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

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