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At Auburn University, research fuels the engines of innovation.  Our entrepreneurial spirit drives discovery to the marketplace, improving quality of life at home and around the world.

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Auburn University receives national recognition for fostering economic growth, prosperity and innovation

One of the nation’s top higher education associations today recognized Auburn University for leadership in fostering economic growth, prosperity and innovation.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named Auburn an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University, a designation that recognizes the university’s strong commitment to economic engagement and its work with public and private sector partners in Alabama and the region.

“Auburn is in the business of helping people achieve their hopes and dreams, and that’s why we’re committed to working alongside entrepreneurs, industry leaders and government officials as an engine of economic opportunity,” Auburn University President Jay Gogue said.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, or APLU, is a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Auburn began the application process for the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation in September and engaged in an extensive self-study which included, among other things, surveys and focus groups with stakeholders from around the state of Alabama. The study found Auburn had a $5.1 billion economic impact on the state economy in 2014 and supports 23,600 jobs, in addition to direct employment.

“We are establishing partnerships and providing support to business and industry with an eye toward spurring growth,” said John Mason, Auburn University vice president for research and economic development. “These relationships benefit our students with learning experiences, while companies benefit from Auburn’s world-class faculty and research.”

A highlight is the university’s engagement with GE Aviation to help bring high-volume additive manufacturing to the GE facility in the city of Auburn, where it will manufacture jet engine fuel nozzles. The facility will be the first of its kind to mass produce additive components for the jet propulsion industry. The university will collaborate on training and industrializing processes as well as developing a curriculum for engineers interested in industrialized additive manufacturing.

Auburn is also home to a 13,000-square-foot Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, Lab focusing on the business and technical implementation of RFID and other new technologies in retail, supply chain management and manufacturing. It is a unique private and academic partnership between major manufacturers and retailers, technology vendors, standards organizations as well as top faculty and researchers from many disciplines.

Auburn is one of 18 universities named in APLU’s third annual class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities and is the only university named in the state of Alabama. Joining Auburn this year are Binghamton University; Clemson University; East Carolina University; Mississippi State University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; New Mexico State University; Ohio University; Southern Illinois University; University of Arizona; University of Kansas; University of Louisville; University of Maryland; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of New Mexico; University of South Florida; Utah State University; and Western University.

With a membership of 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research and expanding engagement.

To learn more, visit www.auburn.edu/externalengagement

Taking Flight: Auburn’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School

This month, Auburn University received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish the first Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School in the United States. This designation will allow Auburn faculty members, students, and members of relevant public organizations to perform commercial flight training on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often called drones. The flight school will perform flights outside and untethered in various locations around the state of Alabama.

Auburn University has an 80-year history of teaching and research about aviation, and this year’s edition of Auburn Speaks, titled On Cyber and the Digital Domain, includes a chapter by Chase Murray entitled “Air Traffic Control: Algorithms for UAV Operations: From Monitoring the Battlefield to Delivering Packages,” that describes the uses of UAVs and the processes by which UAVs fly to pre-determined destinations without a human pilot. In the chapter, Murray explains his own research, devising algorithms and other mathematical models to help UAVs reach their target locations using GPS coordinates.

Murray ends his piece by emphasizing that it is an exciting time to be studying UAVs at Auburn University. Several faculty members and their students are working on federally funded projects to improve UAV capabilities, such as Saad Biaz, who is developing software to improve UAV flight navigation and avoid collisions. With the approval of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School, these exciting times will certainly continue.

To learn more, visit: http://ocm.auburn.edu/aviation_center/

To get your copy of Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain, visit the Auburn Speaks Store.

Cyber Hacking Competitions: Not just Fun and Games

hacker over a screen with binary codeThe need for cybersecurity experts is growing—in fact, it is outpacing the supply of workers. Nowhere is this more evident than in our nation’s defense. Last April, National Public Radio reported on an annual three-day event sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) called CDX intended to boost skills among up and coming cyber defense specialists. In this exercise, top cyber security students from the nation’s military academies are challenged to create cyber defenses that can withstand hacking from the NSA’s specialists.

This exercise is both a training tool as well as a recruiting opportunity for the NSA, who have an acute need for cyber specialists. Similarly, these specialists are in high demand across many private sector industries, especially those involving Internet technologies.

This year’s issue of Auburn Speaks, titled On Cyber and the Digital Domain, features a piece about a related cyber security contest hosted by Facebook called Capture the Flag. Because of its vast information holdings, Facebook has a vested interest in fostering the best in cyber security talent, so they often host cyber hacking contests to find and recruit new cyber hacking specialists. In May 2014, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hosted one of the first such events at a college, and a team from Auburn University participated.

In his chapter, “Facebook Capture the Flag: Cyber Tales from the ARRRG Sea,” Ben Denton, a member of the Auburn team offers a firsthand account of the experience.  Auburn’s team, called Pirates of the ARRRG Sea, participated in a series of challenges wherein the goal was to break into a digital entity—perhaps a website or a piece of software—and capture a virtual flag from it. These challenges required increasing levels of sophistication and hacking technique. Pirates of the ARRRG Sea placed second in the contest, but, as Denton notes in his chapter, the experience and knowledge gained was invaluable. Moreover, as cyber security becomes an increasingly vital—and understaffed—component of the digital domain, events like CDX and Capture the Flag will be essential to finding the next generation of cyber talent.

To learn more, get your copy Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain from the Auburn Speaks Store today or visit: http://www.auburn.edu/auburnspeaks.

Auburn Speaks to Recruiting the Cyber Workforce

NSA recruictment tweet

As NPR reported in May 2014, this tweet (left) from the National Security Agency (NSA) is not full of typos. The message is supposed to look like gibberish, but it’s actually an encrypted code intended to attract would-be cryptographers to work for the NSA. When decoded, the tweet reads:

“want to know what it takes to work at nsa? check back each monday as we explore careers essential to protecting your nation.”

The tweet is part of an ongoing attempt by the NSA to attract talented employees who have a penchant for code making and breaking. In 2011, the NSA also developed an app that generates a weekly cryptology puzzle meant to engage and attract talented individuals to the agency. Encryption is vitally important in the cyber age, when hackers not only penetrate private and corporate networks but those related national security as well.

In his introduction for Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and Digital Domain, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, USN Commander, US Cyber Command; Director, National Security Agency; Chief, Central Security Service explores the vital role of cyber professionals in the pursuit of national security. He stresses that cyber attacks often occur for one of two reasons: cyber theft, such as hacking credit card numbers and other financial information, and political motivations, such as the recent attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment for releasing The Interview, a comedy film about North Korea’s political leadership.

As Admiral Rogers indicates, cyber threats are real and pose a growing concern because of our increasing dependence on cyber technologies. NSA’s cryptography recruitment strategy helps attract the best and brightest minds needed to counter cyber threats.

In the prologue for Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain,  Lt. General Ron Burgess, Jr. (U.S.A. retired), Senior Counsel for National Security Programs, Cyber Programs and Military Affairs describes the whole new class of cyber warriors and civilian cyber professionals that will be needed to meet growing demand:

To learn more visit: www.auburn.edu/auburnspeaks

To purchase your copy now, visit the Auburn Speaks Store.

Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain Now Available with Augmented Reality

Cyber touches all our lives, directly and indirectly. Digitized information teaches us, entertains us, keeps track of our finances, monitors our health and our food supply, facilitates rapid and open communication, allows us near instantaneous access to information, and resides at the heart of our nation’s critical infrastructure. Released April 1, 2015 (along with our new AUgmented reality app, TigerView) the latest edition of award-winning series, Auburn Speaks, focuses on the phenomenon that is “cyber”.

Written by nationally and internationally-recognized Auburn experts, a broad array of topics are featured on subjects ranging from cyber security, national security, information assurance, big data, the changing nature of news and media, as well as cyber impacts on health, literature, media, film and theatre to name a few. Highlights include:

  • Open Source Intelligence in the Cyber Age
  • Safeguarding the Wireless World
  • The Trusted Insider: A Spy in the Worst Possible Place
  • Immersive Virtual Reality: Creating Characters for The Lord of the Rings to FBI Training
  • The Future of Money: The Rise of Crypto Currency
  • Hacked Off: The Sociology of Cyber Crime
  • Agricultural Analytics: Harnessing Data to Feed a Hungry World

Featuring a special forward, “Security in the New Digital World” from Admiral Michael S. Rogers, USN Commander, US Cyber Command; Director, National Security Agency; Chief, Central Security Service- and Auburn graduate.

Tigerview_iconIn conjunction with the release of Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain, we are excited to unveil TigerView, our free augmented reality app. Throughout Auburn Speaks, articles have been enhanced with AUgmented reality that can be launched and enjoyed with TigerView. To sample enriched content, download TigerView to your smartphone or tablet, use the “View Now” feature to scan the cover of Auburn Speaks: On Cyber and the Digital Domain (below) and experience AUgmented reality.

This image has been enhanced with augmented reality.  To view, download TigerView by Auburn University to your smartphone or tablet, open the app, then use the "view now" feature to scan the cover and enjoy augmented reality.

Auburn Speaks is an annual publication on Auburn University research targeting issues that impact life and work in our state and beyond.  Auburn Speaks is produced by the Office the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Auburn University. To learn more, click here.

Copies may be purchased from the Auburn Speaks Store