Jan 11, 2012

Ph.D. Student Mark Robinson receives Presidential Dissertation Fellowship

Mark Robinson, a Ph.D. student from UTSA Computer Science, received the fall 2011 Presidential Dissertation Fellowship for his proposal, "Crosscutting Software Artifacts for Access Control."Out of a total of 17 applicants, there were only 5 recipients. Each recipient received an award of $2400. Robinson has been working as a software engineer for almost 20 years and is currently the lead developer at the Fulgent Corporation. He successfully defended his proposal on 8/17/2011, which was chaired by Dr. Jianwei Niu, and plans to defend his dissertation in August 2012. After graduation, his long term goals are to continue his research, teaching, and industry work in software engineering.

Abstract: Lack of sufficient access control during the software development process can lead to insider incidents, including theft of intellectual property and compromised data. However, current approaches for controlling access to software artifacts are limited to coarsely-grained, ad hoc techniques, such as physical modularization of a single project into separate projects and/or libraries. These methods may not precisely reflect the intentions of the access control policy and they increase maintenance overhead when a restricted artifact is modified or access privileges change. A precise and practical concern model and supporting tools can provide some of the benefits of modularity for non-modular source code, such as information hiding. This concern model can then be used as an access control monitor between developers and an artifact repository, instead of using conventional physical modularization techniques. Additional benefits are reduced artifact maintenance through increased code sharing, enhanced access control policy expressiveness, and parallel development opportunities.