December 19, 2005
A Purdue University computer science professor has been honored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Computer Society for her contributions to securing computer systems.
Elisa Bertino has been awarded the institute's 2005 Tsutomu Kanai Award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize and a travel grant. The award honors outstanding contributions in the area of distributed computing systems. Previous winners include Kenneth L. Thompson and James Gosling who invented, respectively, the UNIX operating system and the Java language system.
"My recent research experience here at Purdue, as well as the award, have broadened my perspectives and goals," Bertino said. "I really want to make an impact on society and industry by developing technologies and systems that address important problems."
When nominating Bertino, University of California, Berkeley, computer science professor C.V. Ramamoorthy, a past Kanai award recipient, cited her "timely" and "fundamental" research that continues to improve digital identity-theft protection and data-management systems.
"Professor Bertino's research in secure systems is second to none," Ramamoorthy said. "She is the top researcher in the field, and her impact in the area has been tremendous."
Bertino has published more than 300 research papers on a broad range of research topics in areas such as filtering systems for Web pages, data mining and security, geographical information systems, and the integration of virtual reality techniques and databases. Bertino, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, currently serves as research director for the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University. She began her identity-theft work after arriving to Purdue from the University of Milano in January 2004.
"The award recognizes the importance of the security research field," Bertino said. "Identity theft has significant social and economic costs. Addressing this problem requires articulated solutions encompassing a large variety of techniques. Here at Purdue, we have developed some initial solutions, and we are now developing implementation."
Eugene Spafford, the center's executive director, said that in addition to her research, Bertino plays an important role as an adviser, program committee member, editor, collaborator and teacher.
"As a scholar and a role model, she continues to inspire others to excel," Spafford said. "It would be difficult to do research in any area of distributed databases without citing Elisa's work and that of her doctoral students who have gone on to prominence as well."
Latifur Khan, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas, provided an endorsement to Bertino's nomination. Khan, who earned his doctorate at the University of Southern California, has looked to Bertino as a role model since the beginning of graduate school.
"I have greatly benefited from reading her papers, and this work has greatly enhanced my research," Khan said. "She has earned the respect of not only her peers and superiors but also every researcher in the field."
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