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Drs. Kantarcioglu and Thuraisingham Presented with the SACMAT Test of Time Award

UT Dallas CS Professors and Cyber Security experts, Drs. Murat Kantarcioglu and Bhavani Thuraisingham were recently presented with the Test of Time award by the ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (SACMAT 2019) for their paper titled “A Semantic Web Based Framework for Social Network Access Control.”

The paper was co-authored with Drs. Barbara Carminati and Elena Ferrari from the University of Insubria in Italy, and Dr. Raymond Heatherly, who received his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Kantarcioglu. The paper has received close to 200 citations, according to Google Scholar.  The main work on this paper was carried out while by Dr. Carminati was visiting UT Dallas, and Dr. Heatherly who was studying for his PhD at UT Dallas. The paper focused on developing access control techniques for social networks so that sensitive and private information is only shared with user consent in a simple and flexible manner. This was one of the pioneering efforts to develop a semantic web-based access control for social media.

As recent scandals such as Cambridge Analytica showed, improving social network access control systems appears as the first step toward addressing existing security and privacy concerns related to online social networks. To address some of the current limitations, in this award-winning work, Drs. Kantarcioglu, Thuraisingham, and their team proposed an extensible fine-grained access control model based on semantic web tools.  In addition, they proposed authorization, administration, and filtering policies that depend upon trust relationships among various users to automatically enforce multiple privacy policies. Besides describing the model, they presented the architecture of the framework and developed a prototype. “We believe that further adoption of the ideas proposed in this work could significantly improve the security and privacy for online social networks,” notes Dr. Kantarcioglu.

The ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (SACMAT) is the premier forum for the presentation of research results and experience reports on leading-edge issues of access control, including models, systems, applications, and theory. The symposium aims to share novel access control solutions that fulfill the needs of heterogeneous applications and environments and to identify new directions for future research and development. The ACM SACMAT Test of Time award is given for the paper published in SACMAT 10 years ago that has had the most impact. The impact is determined based on factors such as citations, product impact, etc., by the Test of Time award committee.

This is the second year in a row that UT Dallas research has received the Test of Time awards from the ACM SACMAT. In 2018, Thuraisingham was awarded the SACMAT 10 Year Test of Time award for her research on ROWLBAC that integrates role based access control and semantic web together with researchers from MIT, UMBC and UTSA. Receiving such Test of Time Awards from top tier ACM conferences shows that UT Dallas Research has had a lasting impact. In fact, in 2017, Thuraisingham was the inaugural recipient of the prestigious 2017 ACM CODASPY Lasting Research Award for her influential research in data security spanning over 30 years.

Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham is a Founders Chair Professor and the Executive Director of the UT Dallas Cyber Security Research and Education Institute (CSI). Dr. Thuraisingham is one of the world’s leading experts in data security and data science and is an elected fellow of several prestigious science and technology organizations including the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and the British Computer Society (BCS).

Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu’s research aims to ensure that useful information is extracted without sacrificing privacy or security. To achieve these goals, Dr. Kantarcioglu is currently working on security, privacy and accountability issues in machine learning and big data, developing machine learning and graph analysis techniques for detecting cyberattacks, and creating blockchain-based techniques for accountable data sharing. Dr. Kantarcioglu’s research is supported by grants from National Science Foundation (NSF), including NSF CAREER award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Army Research Office (ARO), Office of Naval Research (ONR), National Security Agency (NSA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH).  He is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and received the IEEE Intelligence and Security Informatics Technical Achievement Award in 2017.


The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,800 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,000 master’s students, 190 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 41 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2018. 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.

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