Mitchell Thornton, Ph.D.

Mitchell (Mitch) Thornton  

Mitchell Thornton, Ph.D.

Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering

Executive Director, Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security

Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Office Location: Junkins 328

Send Email



  • Ph.D. Computer Engineering, Southern Methodist University


Mitchell A. (Mitch) Thornton is currently the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, a research-only unit, and as Program Director for the interdisciplinary M.S. in Data Engineering degree program within the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU. His past industrial experience includes full-time employment at the Amoco Research Center, E-Systems, Inc. (now L3Harris Technologies Inc.), and the Cyrix Corporation. He is an author or co-author of five books and more than 300 technical articles. He is a named inventor on over 20 US/PCT/WIPO patents and patents pending. During his career as an academic researcher, he has performed sponsored research for numerous federal government agencies and industrial organizations that, in total, exceeds $10M in combined research support. He has also practiced as an independent professional engineer since 1993 and holds P.E. licenses in the states of Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas. His professional practice areas include digital/embedded systems design and analysis, cyber security, quantum informatics and data processing algorithms/systems. In addition to his P.E. licenses, he holds a General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) with a Radar Endorsement from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. He received the PhD in computer engineering from SMU in 1995, MS in computer science from SMU in 1993, MS in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1990, and BS in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1985.

Honors and Awards

  • Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award, nominated by students/colleagues at SMU, May 23, 2022
  • IEEE Technical Community on Multiple-Valued Logic (TCMVL), Long Term Contributor Award, May 20, 2022, named to TCMVL “Multiple-Valued Logic Researcher Hall of Fame,” June 2022.
  • IEEE-USA Citation of Honor, December 2009.
  • Inventor Recognition Award, Semiconductor Research Corporation, April 2009.
  • HOPE (Honoring Our Professors Excellence) Professor, three times in Spring 2006, Fall 2006, and Fall 2009 awarded by students on behalf of the SMU student residence organization.
  • 2005 Gerald J. Ford Senior Research Fellow at Southern Methodist University.
  • Texas Instruments Outstanding Researcher in the Department of Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Arkansas, (two times in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998).


  • Cyber Security
  • Quantum Informatics and Quantum Photonics
  • Data Engineering Applications

Recent Publications

  • J.M. Henderson, E.R. Henderson, A. Sinha, M.A. Thornton and D.M. Miller,  Automated Quantum Oracle Synthesis with a Minimal Number of Qubits, SPIE 12517, Quantum Information Science, Sensing, and Computation XV, April 30-May 4, 2023, 1251706 (18 pp.), publication date June 13, 2023, (with).

Personal Website