2012 Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award

Dr. Dipankar DasguptaDr. Dipankar Dasgupta, a professor of computer science and internationally known expert in cyber security, received the Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award at the University of Memphis during Faculty Convocation April 20 during an on-campus ceremony. The award, presented by the U of M’s Board of Visitors, recognizes exceptional and sustained contributions to scholarly and creative achievement, teaching, and service that have brought recognition to the University.

Dasgupta joined the U of M as an assistant professor of computer science in 1997 and was promoted to professor in 2004.

Trained in biologically motived artificial intelligence, his research has focused on computational models of natural immune systems. Dasgupta quickly became one of the founders of the new field of artificial immune systems, and is considered the world’s leading researcher in the field. Applications of his work expanded his research into network and Internet security. Some of his groundbreaking research, such as digital immunity and negative authentication, landed his name in Computerworld magazine and listed among top computer scientists whose work significantly influenced others.

Dasgupta has received grant awards of more than $7.5 million from such sources as the U.S. Navy, the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, the Department of Defense and the Office of Naval Research. In collaboration with Vanderbilt University and Sparta Corp., he managed the ACT Online project, which developed a multi-level, multi-track cyber security training program for information systems professionals and law enforcement officers. This program is now used nationally.

Dasgupta is the author of three books and more than 200 journal articles, book chapters and conference papers. He has received four Best Paper Awards at international conferences.

As founding director of the Center for Information Assurance, Dasgupta leads one of the University’s major outreach efforts, promoting information security education and training in the community. The Center is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE-IAE) by the DHS/NSA. In conjunction with several departments and colleges, he created a multidisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Information Assurance.

“Dr. Dasgupta is an excellent speaker, advanced thinker, a humble person and highly dedicated researcher,” said Dr. Victor Skormin, a colleague from Binghamton University. “He presents an excellent example of a super-achiever, researcher, educator and promoter of advanced research concepts.”

Dasgupta has taught a variety of computer science courses as well and developed and introduced new advanced courses. He is effective as a mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students, and has supervised numerous master’s and doctoral students.

In 2008, Dasgupta was invited to join the advisory board of the Geospatial Data Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was instrumental in establishing formal ties with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to promote faculty research collaboration and student internships.

“Dr. Dasgupta is truly a credit to the University of Memphis,” said Dr. Ken Pence of Vanderbilt University. “He has demonstrated excellence in his field of research and has done more than anyone I know to further cyber security training.”