Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham
Professor of computer science and executive director
of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute
Louis A. Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor
Thuraisingham is one of the leading experts in data security and data mining. Thuraisingham works behind the scenes of our ever-increasing digital world to protect the billions of pieces of data floating around. But even as she seeks to protect confidential information, she’s developing better ways to sift through mountains of data in search of potential terrorists.
Finding the balance between confidentiality, privacy and national security is a constant battle. Before coming to UT Dallas, Thuraisingham worked primarily in the industry and government sectors. She began working in data security at Honeywell Inc. in the 1980s, and later at the MITRE Corp., a nonprofit company that works closely with the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service.
After 9/11, Thuraisingham joined the National Science Foundation for three years and started research programs in data security and participated in data mining initiatives for counterterrorism. She was recruited to UT Dallas in 2004. She has authored 12 books and more than 100 journal articles, more than 200 conference papers and has three patents to her credit. She has also given more than 90 keynote addresses in data security and data mining.
“I have worked steadily throughout my years at UT Dallas to add talented faculty to our center and several new classes in cybersecurity,” she said. “Together, our team has generated $17 million in research funding and $3 million in education funding over the past seven years.”
Thuraisingham was named a fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the British Computer Society (BCS). She was the recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s 1997 Technical Achievement Award for her work in secure data management and the 2010 ACM SIGSAC (Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control) Outstanding Contributions Award for “seminal research contributions and leadership in data and applications security for over 25 years.”
Thuraisingham earned her bachelor’s in mathematics and physics from the University of Ceylon; a master’s degree in math logic and computer science from the University of Bristol, UK; her PhD in math in the area of theory and computation from the University of Wales, Swansea; and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota. She earned the degree of Doctor of Engineering at the University of Bristol in 2011.
An anonymous donor established the professorship in 2009 to support the research and scholarly activities of the faculty member in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Thuraisingham has held it since 2011.
Thuraisingham’s research interests are in data security and data mining for counterterrorism. Her work has resulted in more than 100 journal articles, more than 200 refereed conference papers and workshops, and three U.S. patents.
“My goal has been to solve challenging research problems of national significance, which is why I got into cybersecurity 26 years ago. After spending many years in the industry and at the National Science Foundation, I felt that UT Dallas was the ideal place where I could continue to contribute to our national security.”