Umphress named director of Auburn Cyber Research Center

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Auburn Engineering professor David Umphress has been named director of the Auburn Cyber Research Center, whose mission includes research and development as well as education, policy and practice.

"Our function is to serve as the portal to the outside world for cyber research,” Umphress said. "Within the center, we gather researchers in cyber security, including computer science, electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering, as well as other cross-disciplinary partners, with the purpose of being the single point of contact for technical cyber security within the university.”

Umphress said his goal as director is to establish a greater focus on economic impact in the state of Alabama.

"We’ve been very fortunate that our past center director, Tony Skjellum, did a great job of putting us on the national map,” Umphress said. "I would like to focus on the economic drivers of Alabama and create focus areas that will strategically impact the state and the nation as well.”

Umphress is the COLSA Corporation Cyber Security and Information Assurance Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering and has been a member of the Auburn faculty since 1999. His career spans nearly 40 years in software and systems engineering in academic, military and industrial settings. His areas of expertise include software engineering, cyber security and mobile device development. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Angelo State University and a master’s and doctorate from Texas A&M University, also in computer science.

"The Auburn Cyber Research Center plays a vital role in advancing scholarship and research in cyber security — an area that faces ever-evolving threats and challenges,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. "With four decades of experience in computer science and cyber security, David is a natural fit to lead this center going forward. I am confident he will provide strong leadership and bring innovative ideas to build on the center’s record of excellence.”

In an effort led by Umphress, Auburn was recently awarded a $4.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help address a shortage of public sector cybersecurity professionals. The award is part of NSF’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program that provides students with scholarships and stipends in a cybersecurity field in return for service to a government agency after graduation.

Cyber security and information technology is one of the College of Engineering’s key research areas. In addition to the Cyber Research Center, Auburn’s McCrary Institute for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Systems also conducts advanced research in the field.

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