- BA and MA in math from University of Michigan
- 1975 PhD in Computer Science (CS) from Purdue
Research Areas: Cyberconflict, cyber security
- While at Purdue she created the Lattice Model for Computer Security (she developed the model on secure information flow, techniques for protecting sensitive data released as summary statistics, and cryptographic protocols and techniques for networks and databases) she has also done research on database security and intrusion detection and overall leading expert in information security
- Conducted a research study on young computer hackers who break into computer systems (1987-1991) (“Concerning Hackers Who Break into Computer Systems,” Proc. 13th National Computer Security Conf., pp. 653-664, Oct. 1990)
- 1983-1986 served as the first president for the International Association for Cryptologic Research
- Georgetown University Department of CS Chair and Director of the Georgetown Institute of Information Assurance (1991-2002)
- 2009 New Jersey City University named their multidisciplinary Information Assurance Center after Denning: Dorothy E. Denning Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education
- Inducted into the National Security Hall of Fame in 2012
- Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Defense Analysis at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (2002-2017)
How does your research impact other disciplines?
My work is certainly intersected with other disciplines. Some of the work I did on encryption was done with people in law enforcement. One of the persons was an assistant director of the FBI and then I worked with a prosecutor and somebody in the New York State Police
Was there anything that surprised you while writing your first book Cryptography and Data Security?
At the time I wrote the textbook I was teaching a course and there wasn’t a textbook so I wanted to write a textbook that I could use in my course. I was already familiar with a lot of the material that went into the book and I certainly learned a lot more in the process of writing it. Writing has a way of doing that to you.
What was it like working in Computer Science while living in an age where technology changed so rapidly?
When I wrote that book we were not on the internet at Purdue. I grew up in the age of punch cards and when I did my PhD thesis I had to do it with an IBM typewriter. When the web came along, I learned how to build web pages. It’s always you know a learning process of the new technology and trying to stay up with it.
What advice do you have for people who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity today?
You have to like what you are doing. The more things you are involved in, the more opportunities are gonna show themselves. Then you take the opportunities that come along that sound interesting to you. But if you just try to figure it all out on your own in an isolated kind of way, I don’t think that works. I think you have to be involved with other people and other projects and then new opportunities present themselves. That’s how I would describe my life. It was never planned. These opportunities came up and I’m glad I took them.