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Professor Awais Rashid

Professor of Software Engineering

Academic and Other Relevant Experience

I hold a BSc in Electronics and Communications Engineering (First Class Hons., UET, Pakistan, 1996), MSc in Software Engineering Methods with Distinction (University of Essex, UK, 1997) and a PhD in Computer Science (Lancaster University, UK, 2001). Prior to joining Lancaster University as a lecturer, I worked at Xerox Research Centre Europe where I was part of a multi-disciplinary team studying people and organisations at work and devising software systems to support their working practices. Over the last six years I have been responsible for leading EC and EPSRC research grants in the areas of software engineering and cyber security in excess of e10m.

Current Role

Currently, I am Professor of Software Engineering in the School of Computing and Communications and Associate Dean for PG Studies in the Faculty of Science and Technology at Lancaster University. I am also leading (together with Drs. Taylor and Prince) the establishment of a cross-disciplinary Security Research Centre at Lancaster involving researchers from Computer Science, Psychology, Engineering, Physics, Economics, Applied Social Science, Criminology, Politics and Law.

Security Research

My research focuses on engineering software that is adaptable, evolvable and resilient in the face of the volatile and changing nature of user requirements and behaviours in the digital world. This research aims to understand and reconcile often differing stakeholder perspectives on properties such as security, usability, adaptability, cost, etc. Most significantly, however, the techniques I develop underpin engineering of systems to tackle security challenges arising from the activities of those aiming to exploit the open nature of the digital world for criminal purposes. Examples of such systems include detecting criminals masking their online identities, dealing with dynamically changing threat patterns, profiling attackers/victims based on linguistic markers and techniques to deal with disruptive influences of those aiming to sabotage community-driven initiatives. Two characteristics distinguish my research from typical cyber security research in computer science. Firstly, my research has always been inherently multi-disciplinary involving, for example, psychologists, linguists, social scientists, ethicists, criminologists and legal experts. The other distinguishing characteristic is close engagement with users of research especially practitioners. My cyber security research has been conducted in close collaboration with a number of major industry and policing organisations in the UK, Europe and internationally.

Selected Esteem Indicators

  • Laureate of the Prestigious Pays de la Loire Chair Regionale, Ecole des Mines de Nantes, France(2008-11);
  • Invited lead author of the UK Case Study for the Internet Governance Forum, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, 2009;
  • Director of Future Technologies, Isis Forensics Ltd (a Lancaster University spin-out company);
  • Member external advisory groups for EC ICT Framework Programmes (2007-09, 11-13);
  • (Dis)Integrated Systems, Keynote at Chinese National Conference on Computer Software and Applications, Shenyang, China, 2009;
  • Founding co-editor-in-chief of Springer journal Transactions on Aspect-Oriented Software Development 2004-08, editorial board ’08 to date;
  • Member Steering and Executive Committees Int’l Conf. on Aspect-Oriented Software Development, 2006-12;
  • Media Interviews and Coverage: Scientific American (twice in 2009); interview on identifying evolving paedophile vocabulary in peer-to-peer file sharing networks featured in the Daily Telegraph and subsequently in over 18 countries internationally in 2009; interview on work with Queen Elizabeth School on giving pupils hands-on understanding of risks online and our language toolkits accuracy in identifying masquerading adults (94%) made headline news in the UK (e.g., BBC 6 o’ Clock News, various radio stations, The Independent) and internationally (e.g., German news Heute, Austrian radio, ABC News in Australia, The New Zealand Herald) in June 2010.

Key Security Research Projects

  • iCOP: Identifying and Catching Originators in Peer-to-Peer Networks, European Commission Safer Internet Programme, 2011-2013. Coordinator and Principal Investigator.
  • Identi-scope: Multiple Identities as a Resource for Understanding and Impacting Behaviours in the Digital World, EPSRC 2012
  • UDesignIt: Social Media Social Good - Ultra-large-scale Public Engagement Systems to Tackle Antisocial Behaviour, Principal Investigator, EPSRC Cross-Disciplinary Account, 2010-2012
  • An Investigator Training Programme for Policing Online Paedophile Activity, Principal Investigator, Lancaster University EPSRC Impact Award, 2010-2011
  • Isis: Protecting Children in Online Social Networks, Principal Investigator and Coordinator, EPSRC and ESRC, 2008-2011
  • DiVA: Dynamic Variability in Complex, Adaptive Systems, Principal Investigator, European Commission Framework 7 Programme, IST-215412, 2008-2011

Key Security and Related Publications

  • A. Rashid, P. Greenwood, J. Walkerdine, A. Baron, P. Rayson (Accepted to Appear). “Technological Solutions to Offending”, Chapter in Technology Mediated Abusive and Exploitative Images of Children, Quayle and Ribisl (eds.), Willan.
  • P. Anthonysamy, A. Rashid, P. Greenwood (2011). “Do the Privacy Policies Reflect the Privacy Controls on Social Networks?”, Proc. IEEE International Conference on Information Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust, IEEE CS Press, pp. 1155 -1158.
  • A. Baron, C. Tagg, P. Rayson, P. Greenwood, J. Walkerdine, A. Rashid (2011). “Using Verifiable Author Data: Gender and Spelling Di?erences in Twitter and SMS”, Proc. ICAME 32, Norway.
  • B. Cafeo, J. Noppen, F. Ferrari, R. Chitchyan, A. Rashid (2011). “Inferring Test Results for Dynamic Software Product Lines”, Proc. 19th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE-19), pp. 500-503.
  • A. Rashid, J. Weckert, R. Lucas (2009). “Software Engineering Ethics in a Digital World”, IEEE Computer 42(6), pp. 34-41.
  • N. Weston, R. Chitchyan, A. Rashid (2009). “A Framework for Constructing Semantically Composable Feature Models from Natural Language Requirements”, Proc. International Software Product Lines Conference (SPLC), IEEE CS Press, pp. 211-220.
  • P. Rayson, P. Greenwood, A. Rashid, J. Walkerdine (2009). “Who Said What? Methodological Issues in Applying Corpus-based Methods to Analyse Online Chat Data”, Proc. Corpus Linguistics 2009, Liverpool, UK.
  • D. Hughes, P. Rayson, J.Walkerdine, K. Lee, P. Greenwood, A. Rashid, C. May-Chahal, M. Brennan (2008). “Supporting Law Enforcement in Digital Communities through Natural Language Analysis”, Proc. International Workshop on Computational Forensics, Springer LNCS 5158, pp. 122-134.
  • A. Rashid, A. Moreira, J. Araujo (2003). “Modularisation and Composition of Aspectual Requirements”, Proc. International Conference on Aspect-Oriented Software Development, ACM, pp. 11-20. [411 citations; key reference on studying trade-offs between systematic properties such as security, usability and cost]