Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, Founders Chair Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas, was honored with the 2022 Women in Cloud Computing Award by the IEEE CS TCCLD in December 2022. As stated by IEEE CS, TCCLD “provides a forum for members to broaden professional contacts, facilitates information exchange, and stimulates the growth of research, education, and industry in cloud computing.” The Women in Computing Award “Recognizes women leaders who have made outstanding, influential, and potentially long-lasting contributions in the field of cloud computing and solve real problems.” Thuraisingham has spent the past 16 years conducting research, education, and outreach activities in Secure Cloud Computing. She received this award for “Pioneering Contributions in Secure Cloud Computing with Applications in Big Data Security and Privacy and for mentoring Women in Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, and Data Science.”
Thuraisingham was instrumental in assembling a multi-university team and establishing a DoD MURI (Multi-University Research Initiative) project on Assured Information Sharing (funded by AFOSR) in 2008. Together with her colleagues Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu and Dr. Latifur Khan, she pioneered techniques for sharing information securely in a Cloud utilizing secure web services. To accomplish this, she obtained a second large AFOSR grant on developing a Secure Cloud in 2009 so that the information could be shared securely using this cloud. In particular, her team developed a Secure Architecture for the Cloud that includes Secure Virtualization, Secure Storage, Secure Data Management, and Security Policy Enforcement. The team then designed and developed assured information-sharing applications and demonstrated the system between international partners, including Kings College, the University of London, and the University of Insubria, Italy. The Air Force was very pleased with the research and subsequently put out a press release on the work conducted by the UT Dallas team in 2010.
Thuraisingham has also been an outstanding educator in Secure Cloud Computing since 2012. She published a book in 2013 titled: “Developing and Securing the Cloud” by CRC Press that is being used as a reference book at various universities. In addition, through an NSF Capacity Development grant in 2011, she developed experimental problems for students to solve as part of their programming projects in the Secure Cloud Computing course. Furthermore, she was also part of a second NSF-funded project led by Latifur Khan in 2012 to develop an Instrument for Secure Cloud Computing to support student research and education. She continues to introduce new material for this course, including Attacks to the Cloud, Privacy for the Cloud, and the Cloud providing Security as a Service. More recently she has included modules on Secure Edge and IoT as part of this course. She is also focusing on Cloud Governance, Risk and Policy as part of her work on Cyber Security Governance.
While Secure Cloud Computing was a novelty in the late 2000s and through most of the 2010s, the technology is now getting mature. However, the challenge is to improve the infrastructure with respect to performance and enable the applications to take advantage of what the Cloud offers. The team’s current focus is on hosting Secure Big Data Applications on the Cloud as well as exploring Blockchain technologies for securing the cloud. The team has also developed a number of Machine Learning techniques for Malware analysis implemented on the cloud and has shown the significant performance improvements that result due to deploying a Cloud. Thuraisingham has also carried out extensive outreach efforts on Secure Cloud Computing by giving numerous keynote and featured addresses including at IEEE TCCLD’s flagship conference CloudCom in 2013 as well as tutorials on this topic at research conferences as well as at diversity events such as Women in Cyber Security, Women in Data Science and Women in Services Computing conferences.
Thuraisingham has received several technical awards from IEEE and ACM for her research and education efforts. She is a Fellow of both IEEE and ACM as well as the AAAS and the NAI. Her multiple awards include the IEEE CS 1997 Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award, IEEE CS TC on Services Computing (TCSVC) 2017 Research Innovation Award, the IEEE Communications Society(ComSoc) 2019 Technical Recognition Award for Communication and Information Security, the ACM CODASPY 2017 Lasting Research Award, the ACM SACMAT 2018 and 2019 Test of Time Awards for papers published in 2008 and 2009, and the 2013 IBM Faculty Award.
Thuraisingham says that the Cloud will continue to be a critical technology for Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Cyber Security Applications. To deploy the Cloud for such applications, it has to be secure. Therefore, Securing the Cloud will continue to be one of her major focus areas both from research, education, and outreach perspectives.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 4,000 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,010 master’s students, 140 Ph.D. students, 52 tenure-track faculty members, and 42 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2022. With the University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.