Dorothy Denning, 2006 Computer Science Distinguished Alumna - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content

Dorothy Denning, 2006 Computer Science Distinguished Alumna


Dorothy E. Denning, Ph.D. 1975
Professor, Department of Defense Analysis
Naval Postgraduate School

Thursday, April 6, 2006
CS 111 at 3:00pm

Tracks, Trackers, & Tracking


I will retrace my tracks through the worlds of computer security, crime, national policy, and terrorism since graduating from Purdue in 1975. I will note some of the challenges and opportunities I encountered, lessons learned, people who influenced me, significant events that shaped the path I took, and changes I've observed over more than 30 years. In the process, I will briefly mention some of the things I worked on, which include information flow, multilevel security, trackers, intrusion detection, cryptography, key escrow, location-based security, user interfaces, cybercrime, and cyberterrorism. I will also draw implications for present and future security research. I might even tell a few stories such as being interviewed for W.O.R.M., defending the editor of PHRACK, being named The Clipper Chick, and dining with a movie star.


Dorothy Denning is recognized as one of the world's leading experts in information security. Her research has laid foundations in the areas of cryptology, information warfare, and data security. She is a true pioneer in the field.

Dorothy Denning received her Ph.D. from Purdue in 1975 (advisor: H.D. Schwetman). After graduation she joined the faculty of the CS Department at Purdue as an Assistant professor and she was promoted to Associate Professor in 1981. After leaving Purdue in 1983, she held positions at SRI International and Digital Equipment Corporation and at Georgetown University, where was the Callahan Family Professor of Computer Science, Director of the Georgetown Institute of Information Assurance, and chair of the Computer Science Department. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and is one of the faculty associated with the Center on Terrorism and Irregular Warfare and with the Center for Information Systems Security Studies and Research.

Dr. Denning has published 120 articles and four books, her most recent being Information Warfare and Security. She is an ACM Fellow and recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2002 Augusta Ada Lovelace Award, the 1999 National Computer Systems Security Award, and the 2004 Harold F. Tipton Award. In November 2001, she was named a Time magazine innovator. She has been named to the ISSA Hall of Fame (2003), awarded the CSO COMPASS award (2003), named as both a CISSP and as a CISM honoris causa, and elected as a Fellow of the ACM (1995).

Professor Denning has testified before the U.S. Congress on encryption policy and cyber terrorism, and has served in leadership and advisory positions with government agencies and private sector organizations. She is a past president of the International Association of Cryptologic Research.

A reception will be held before the talk in the CS first floor hallway.

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