Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham
I have a unique 39+ year career first as a visiting faculty, then in the commercial computer industry, followed by federally funded research and development center experience and then as program director in the government before joining academia full time as a tenured professor in 2004. I joined The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) as a Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Cyber Security Research Center. Between 2010 and 2019 I have been the Louis Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and the Executive Director of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute (CSI) at UTD. Since 2019, in addition to the Executive Director of CSI, I am the prestigous Founders Chair Professor of Computer Science and the Co-Director of the Center for Women in Cyber Security as well as Women in Data Science. I am also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Informatics at Kings College University of London, England 2015-Present and a 2017-2018 Cyber Security Policy Fellow at the New America Foundation. My research interests since 1985 have been at the intersection of Cyber Security and Data Science/Artificial Intelligence including as they relate to policy and governance and my mission is to engage women in cyber security and data science research and education.
Prior to joining UTD, I spent 24 years in the commercial industry (Honeywell, Control Data Corporation), and at MITRE Corporation and the National Science Foundation as IPA. During this time I also worked as visiting faculty and/or adjunct faculty at the New Mexico Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota (member of the graduate faculty) and Boston University. I was an instructor at AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) Professional Development Center between 1998 and 2013.
Between 1980 and 1983, while at the New Mexico Institute of Technology and the University of Minnesota, my research was focused on theory of computation where I studied decision problems for system functions which are essentially inference functions. This work was published in journals such as the Journal of Computer and Systems Sciences, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic and the Journal of Mathematical Logic. I also conducted research in Algorithmic Information Theory during this time (together with my mentor and role model the distingiished Prof. Marian Pour-El.
From 1983 to 1986, while working in computer network development at Control Data Corporation, my research focused on distributed systems and this work was published in journals such as the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, IEEE Network and IEEE LAN confeence. I was also a key member of the team that was responsible for the first release of the CDCNET product, one of the early networked systems, in December 1985.
From 1986 to 1989, I was at Honeywell Computer Sciences Center and my research focused mainly on database security for the Air Force. In addition I was also involved in the design and development of a network operating system for NASA, information modeling for the Air Force, Artificial Intelligence/expert system for control system applications for the Industrial Automation Control Systems Division, distributed data dictionary system for Residential Control Systems Division, distributed object management for Building Control Systems Division, Economic Modeling for Honeywell Corporate, and Artifiicl Intelligence for Networks for Honeywell's Internal Research and Development. This work was published in journals and conferences including Computers and Security, AI Expert, IEEE Computer, IEEE Network, IEEE ICDE, and multiple AAAI Conference workshops.
I began my research in data and applications security in 1985 and have been working in this area since then while at University of Minnesota, Honeywell, MITRE, NSF and at UTD. My early work between 1985 and 1995 focused on secure relational, object and distributed and deductive data management systems. I also proved that the inference problem was unsolvable and this work was cited as the most significant work in database security by the National Security Agency in 1990. Numerous papers were published in several prestigious journals and conferences on this research including in IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, ACSAC, IEEE Computer Security Foundations Workshop, and ACM OOPSLA.
In addition to my work in data and applications security at MITRE between 1989 and 2001, I conducted research in real-time systems and subsequently contributed to integrating secure systems and real-time systems between 1993 and 2001. This work was published in journals and conferences such as IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Computing, Real-Time Systems Journal and the VLDB Conference. During this time I also worked in data mining and led the Massive Digital Data Systems project for the Intelligence Community as well as served on multiple standards boards (e.g., Navy NGCR and OMG). My work was published in an article by MITRE in March 2003 as requested by the then CEO. While at MITRE and AFCEA, I have taught 1-3 day courses in data management, data mining, and data security to several government agencies including NSA, CIA, SPAWAR, CECOM, SPACECOM, DISA, EUROCOM, ESC, and AIA, as well as Air Force Bases including Kelly, Offut, Eglin, Edwards, Lackland, and Kirkland.
Between 2001 and 2004, as an IPA from MITRE, I was the program director for Information and Data Management at NSF (01-02) and also managed the Information Management component of the ITR (Information Technology Research) Initiative (02-03). In addition, I established the Data and Applications Security special competition (02-03) and was a member of the Cyber Trust theme (03-04). During this time I worked tirelessly to promote Data and Applications Security as well as Data Mining for Counter-terrorism to EPSCoR states (e.g., Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana), and gave featured talks at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the United Nations. I also participated in interdisciplinary programs in bioinformatics, geoinformatics, sensor systems as well as Math/Science partnerships for high schools.
Since October 2004, together with my students and colleagues at UTD, I have made significant contributions in the areas of policy-based information sharing as well as data mining for malware detection, secure cloud computing and analyzing social networks. This work has appeared in premier journals and conferences including IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on Reliability, ACM Transactions on Information and Systems Security, ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, the VLDB Journal, the Journal of Web Semantics, ACM KDD, ACM CODASPY, ACM SACMAT, ACSAC, IEEE ICDE, IEEE ICDM, IEEE Cloud, and IEEE Big Data. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has also done a press release of my work on secure cloud computing. I have graduated 16 PhD students (including 7 women, 1 African American and 1 LGBTQ) and several MS students and have four PhD students in the pipeline (including 4 women and one Hispanic American). I teach (have taught) courses in Data and Applications Security, Digital Forensics, Trustworthy Web Services and Semantic Web, Biometrics, Secure Cloud Computing, Analyzing and Securing Social Media, and Cyber Security Essentials. I am also the faculty mentor for the INSuRE program at UTD (collaborative multiuniversity experimental research program).
I have held team leadership and management positions for the past 28 years at MITRE, NSF and UTD managing budgets of over $100 million dollars in total. These include leading multiple team research efforts in cyber security and data analytics at MITRE between 1989 and 2001, managing and leadiing a Department in Data and Information Management between 1995 and 1999 where I grew the department from 8 to 28 staff, co-directing the database specialty group (1993-1995), heading the corporate research initiative in data managment and evolvable systems (1994-1997), working as chief technologist between 1999 and 2001, managing programs at NSF between 2001 and 2004 and directing UTD's Cyber Security Research and Education Institute (CSI) since 2004.
Over the years CSI has grown from 1 member (myself) in October 2004 to around 10 in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science as well as several more in the School of Management and and in the Schoool of Economics, Policy and Political Sciences. The team has generated around $50M in research and $15M in education funding including 100% success rate with NSF CAREER, multiple AFOSR YIPs,multiple IBM Faculty Awards, and DoD MURI, DURIP as well as multiple Large, Medium and Small NSF SatC, NSF SBIR, MRI, the prestigious NSF/VMware partnership award, Team member of the most recent NSA Lablet Science of Security award, and many more. Our sponsors include NSF, USAF, Army, Navy, NSA, DARPA, IARPA, NIH, NASA, NIST, NGA, DHS, and DOE/Sandia. The team has also established research collaboratioins with AFRL, ARL, MITRE as well as commercial corporations such as Raytheon, IBM, VMware, Cisco, Nokia, TI, and Intel. The team has also published papers in every top tier conferences and journals in cyber security and data science, and has obtained multiple patents in these fields. The team has also received fellowships and awards including multiple IEEE Fellows, multiple ACM Distinguished Scientists, as well as ACM, NAI, AAAS and IACR Fellows and many more IEEE (Computer Society, Technical Commitees) and ACM (SIGSAC) awards. We have established national and international collaborations (e.g., AFOSR/EOARD effort on Assured Information Sharing) and also organized an NSF workshop in Big Data Security and Privacy in September 2014 and presented the results at the NITRD invitational workshop on Privacy in February 2015 (as part of the Natioinal Privacy Research Strategy). I also believe in a strong education program and we have established a CS-based Masters track and certificate programs in cyber security, a new policy-based interdisciplinary MS degree in cyber security in 2020, and received multiple NSF SFS grants, NSA/DHS certifications in Cyber Security Education, Research as well as became the first university in Texas to receive the Cyber Operations certification in 2015. We also established both the annual TexSAW (Texas Security Awareness Week) in 2011 that organizes hands-on workshops to students across Texas universities and NSA's GenCyber in 2016 that provides summer camps for K-12 students in cyber security. More details of CSI can be found here.
I have been a consultant to the NSA in data security between 1991-1997 and set the research strategy for NSA (R23) as can be seen in the commendation letter from NSA as well as the services (Air Force, Navy, Army), the CMS/NSA/CIA in data analytics between 1993-1999 for the massive data initiative, the DHHS on States Bioterrorism Initiative between 2002-2003, the DOJ on software technology in 2001, and the IRS on corporate software research credit since 1999 to present. I served on the National Academy panel on Protecting Children from Inappropriate Content on the Internet chaired by Hon. Dick Thornburgh in 2000 and was also the Vice Chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board panel on Migrating Legacy Databases and Applications and co-presented our work to the Air Force Chief in December 2001. I have also consulted to multiple law firms on patent infringement cases and served on the advisory board of Accuvant Corporation between 2011-2015, Purdue University in 2005, and the University of Georgia since 2015 - 2019. I serve on the Academic Advisory Council of the NIST FFRDC in Cyber Security since 2014, member of the advisory board of Maxxure Cororatiion since 2018 and have been an advisor in cyber security to Texas Congressional Staffers since 2005. I am also involved in transferring the university technologies to commercial products via Knowledge and Security Analytics, LLC.
My work has not only resulted in several publications including over 120+ journals, 250+ conferences, 130+ keynote/featured addresses (e.g., at ACM SACMAT, EDBT, ICMLA, PAKDD, ARES, ASIACCS, IEEE ISI), and 100+ panel presentations, I have also obtained six patents, authored 15 books, edited several more, served (serving) on multiple journal editorial boards as well as editor-in-chief (e.g., ACM and IEEE Transactions, Computer Standards and Interface) as well as program and/or general chair of prestigious conferences (e.g., ACM SACMAT, IEEE ICDE, ACM CCS, IEEE ICDM, IFIP 11.3) and have received prestigious fellowships and awards from many organizations including the ACM, the IEEE, the NAI, and the AAAS (e.g., ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, NAI Fellow, AAAS Fellow, IEEE CS 1997 Technical Achievement Award, ACM SIGSAC 2010 Outstanding Contributions Award, IEEE Comsoc Communication and Information Security 2019 Technical Recognition Award, SDPS 2012 Gold Medal for Interdisciplinary Research, 2013 IBM Faculty Award, 2010 IEEE Intelligence and Security Informatics Research Leadership Award, and the AFCEA 2011 Medal of Merit). I am also a member of AAAI and the ACM Representative for IFIP. I was named by the Silicon India Magazine as one of the seven leading innovators of South Asian origin in the USA (only woman) in May 2002. More recently I received the 2017 Inaugural ACM CODASPY (data and applications security and privacy) Lasting Research Award, the 2017 Inaugural IEEE Computer Society Services Computing Research Innovation Award, and the back to back 2018 and 2019 ACM SACMAT 10 Year Highly Influential Paper / Test of Time Awards for our research on ROWLBAC and semantic web for securing social media. I also received the 2016 senior faculty research award at UT Dallas.
I have been a strong advocate for Women and Minorities in Cyber Security and Data Science and have given featured addresses at events hosted by CRA-W, WITI, SWE, Career Communications Inc., London Hopper, DFW-ATW (Alliance for Technology Women), Women in Cyber Security, ACM CyberW , Women in Communications Engineering, and also gave a featured address at the prestigious Women in Data Science Conference (WiDS) at Stanford University in 2018. I also co-chaired the 800+ person Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS) Conference in Dallas in March 2016 and helped establish the Center for Engaging Women in Cyber Security as part of UTDallas' Cyber Security Institute. I was named by Careersincybersecurity.com as one of the five leading women shaping the future of cyber security in November 2016 and in 2017 was named by the SC Magazine as one of the four leading women in Academia in Cyber Security. and Cyber Defense Magazine's top 25 women in Cyber Security in 2019. I also received the Career Communication Inc.'s 2001 Woman of Color Research Leadership Award. I co-chaired the Women in Data Science and Engineering Workshop as part of IEEE ICDE, currently co-chairing the Women in Services Computing as part of IEEE Services/Cloud, co-founded the Women in IEEE Multimedia, and have also served as a reviewer for ACSAC/CRA-W SWSIS program. I am a member of the the Executive Women's Forum that promotes women in information security, privacy and risk. I carry out extensive outreach on educating the general public about cyber security (e.g., events at DFW public libraries and for high school students) and give frequent interviews on DFW Television and write articles for International Newspapers inclduing the New York Times. I also participate in the Grace Hopper Celebration sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute and have been a mentor in STEM for many years.
I received my B.Sc (First Class and First in Order ot Merit of around 200 students) in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Ceylon (now Sri-Lanka), my M.Sc in Mathematical Logic and Foundations of Computer Science at the University of Bristol, England (under the supervision of Dr. John Cleave and Prof. John Shepherdson), and my PhD at the University of Wales, UK in Theory of Computation (under the supervision of Dr. Roger Hindley and Dr. John Cleave). While I was a visiting faculty at the University of Minneosta in the early 1980s teaching courses on Theory of Computation, I also took practical courses in Computer Science and obtained an MS in Computer Science focusing on Systems. More recently I received the prestigious earned higher doctorate (D.Eng) from the University of Bristol, England for my published research in Secure Dependable Data Management (1985-2010). I strongly believe that learning must be a lifelong activity and received the Certificate in Terrorism Studies from St. Andrews University in Scotland (2010), SANS GCFE (Forensics Examiner) 2013, and CISSP (2010).
While my mission is to educate women in cyber security and data science, my passion is to ensure that children around the world are safe and have clean water, food, clothes and a roof over their heads by supporting Save the Children, UNICEF, Shriners Hospital for Children and the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center. I strongly believe that high quality affordable childcare is a right of every child. To fulfill my passion and strengthen my mission, I will be giving the banquet address at ACM CODASPY 2020 on "Can AI be for Good in the Midst of Securty Attacks and Privacy Violatons" with violenace against children as an application area.