Mitch Thornton appointed acting chair of computer science and engineering

Barbara Minsker

DALLAS (SMU) – Dr. Mitch Thornton has been appointed acting chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at SMU-Lyle, effective January 1, 2017. Dr. Thornton currently holds the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering and is a professor with appointments in Lyle’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and its Department of Electrical Engineering. He also serves as technical director at the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security at SMU.

Dr. Thornton’s industrial experience includes employment at Amoco Research Center, E-Systems, Inc. (now L-3 Communications), and the Cyrix Corporation. Since 1993, he has practiced as an independent professional engineer in the areas of digital systems design and analysis, computer architecture, computer systems security, embedded systems, and signal processing algorithms. He is an author or co-author of more than 200 technical articles and five books and is an inventor on four U.S. patents and two patents pending.

Dr. Thornton has consulted with and performed sponsored research for the National Security Agency, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Laboratories, National Science Foundation, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics, Lockheed-Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Acxiom Corporation, Silicon Space Technology, and several other industrial firms. He is a licensed professional engineer in Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Dr. Thornton’s academic career includes faculty appointments at the University of Arkansas from 1995 through 1999, where he was an assistant professor and later an associate professor in the Department of Computer Systems Engineering. From 1999 through 2002, he was an associate professor at Mississippi State University serving in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He joined the faculty at SMU in 2002 as an associate professor. His research activities revolve around modeling, simulation, formal verification, and design of digital systems including both conventional electronic and emerging technology implementations. In recent years, he has focused on computer systems security and aspects of quantum computing.

Dr. Thornton is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and holds membership in other professional societies. He has contributed to U.S. licensing of professional engineers and was formerly the chair of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) working group that produces the national P.E. licensure examination for electrical and computer engineers. Dr. Thornton is a former chair of the IEEE-USA Committee on Licensure and Registration and continues to participate in aspects of the formation and promotion of U.S. policy to support the electrical and computer engineering profession.

Dr. Thornton earned a B.S in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in computer engineering both from SMU.


About SMU
SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

About the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering
SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers eight undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, through the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Management, Information, and Systems; and Mechanical Engineering. Lyle students participate in programs in the unique Deason Innovation Gym, providing the tools and space to work on immersion design projects and competitions to accelerate leadership development and the framework for innovation; the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, helping students develop nontechnical skills to prepare them for leadership in diverse technical fields; the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, developing new methodologies for incorporating engineering education into K-12 schools; and the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, combining technological innovation with business expertise to address global poverty.