Challey Spotlight: Jeremy Straub
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Jeremy Straub is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at NDSU, Challey Institute Senior Faculty Fellow, and Director of the NDSU Cyber Security Institute. He teaches courses in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Most of his research focuses on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity and looks into the policy and management implications of those areas.
How did you first get started in this work?
It started gradually. I did a lot of AI and cybersecurity research as I was doing my Ph.D. The work that I do in policy analysis and management spaces is all based upon some of the challenges I've had the opportunity to learn about or encounter as I've been working on other things. Trying to understand how to solve those problems has brought me into doing a lot of policy analysis work.
What is it about AI that grabs your attention?
The biggest thing about AI is the potential that it holds. There's just so many different things that it can be used for and there are a lot of different ways that it can benefit society.
Technology is a quickly changing field, how do you stay on top of those changes?
The technology is advancing so quickly in areas like cybersecurity and AI, so what we might be talking about today in the AI or cybersecurity classes might be very different from what we were talking about last semester or last year. So it's important to keep up with what is going on. When students hear news reports, I find it helpful to be able to talk about things and say this is what you are hearing about, this is how it works, and to be able to incorporate that into relevant lectures. There are so many sources of information. Some of it comes from what's going on in academia through journal articles and conference proceedings. Some of it is what's going on in the industry through news articles and popular trade press. What I do is bring all that information together, and keep an idea of what's going on so that it can be incorporated into the classes.
How has philanthropy supported your work?
One of the challenges in any type of environment is the ability to respond quickly. I think that's one of the areas where the Challey Institute and the philanthropy behind it has enabled so much. Could there be other sources of funding for these things? Possibly, but certainly, nothing that's as quick. Whether it's changes being proposed, or opportunities to be impactful on the national or regional policy stage there are resources needed to be able to take action. For example, the ChatGPT event towards the end of the spring semester was something that came together really quickly. It was enabled by the fact that there was this resource that could be quickly leveraged. It wasn't a spectacularly expensive event, but that resource produced a really interesting discussion. We had great speakers including the former state CIO, people from Microsoft, and other auspicious institutions that came together because they were interested in the topic. It's a great example of how a little bit of donated money was able to produce a really neat impact because of how quickly we were able to be responsive.