Professor Roberto Di Pietro is a Full Professor of Computer Science at the KAUST CEMSE Division. He is affiliated with the KAUST Resilient Computing and Cybersecurity Center (RC3).

Dr. Di Pietro started his professional career as a computer scientist in 1995. He served for a few years as a senior military technical officer within the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD). At the Italian MoD, he managed complex information and communications technology (ICT) projects focusing on resiliency and security.

Brief biography

Before joining KAUST, he spent six years as Full Professor in Cybersecurity at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Science and Engineering (HBKU-CSE), Doha, Qatar. 

He also served as Global Head of Cybersecurity Research for Bell Labs (Alcatel-Lucent/Nokia) for almost four years. In that capacity, he coordinated three security research departments—based in Paris, Munich, and Espoo, Finland—tasked with ensuring that research was in alignment with the strategic business goals and moving research results into innovation. 

Besides his position at Nokia Bell Labs, Dr. Di Pietro was a professor (with tenure) at the University of Padova, Italy. Prior to the above assignments, he was a professor (with tenure) at the University of Roma Tre, Italy. He founded a startup based on the achieved research results in the domain of access control (successfully exited in 2015). 

In his academic career, he has secured $9 million USD-plus in funding (either as LPI or PI).

Dr. Di Pietro has also held several long-term international research appointments at Vrije University, the Netherlands; George Mason University (Center for Secure Information Systems), U.S.; the University of California Irvine, U.S.; EURECOM, France; and the Barcelona Digital Technology Centre, Spain.

Areas of expertise and current scientific interests

His main research interests include security and privacy for distributed systems (e.g., cloud computing, distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies), artificial intelligence for cybersecurity, online social networks, quantum computing, virtualization security, applied cryptography, and data science. 

Dr. Di Pietro has been general co-chair and program co-chair for several conferences (e.g., the International Conference on Applied Cryptography and Network Security (ACNS); the ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (ACM WiSec); the ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (ACM SACMAT); the European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS); and the IEEE International Conference on Blockchain (IEEE Blockchain)). 

He is also collaborating with several international journals (e.g., as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Dependable Secure Computing and as an Advisory Board Member for Future Generation Computer Systems).

Career recognitions

Dr. Di Pietro was elevated to ACM Distinguished Scientist (2019) for his “outstanding scientific contributions to computing” and to IEEE Fellow (2023) for his “contributions to the security of distributed systems.” 

He received the Jean-Claude Laprie Award (2020) for “significantly influencing the theory and practice of dependable computing”. He was included in Stanford University’s "World Ranking Top 2% Scientists" list in 2020, 2021, and 2022.  

Dr. Di Pietro received the Individual Inventor Award from HBKU for “outstanding contributions to intellectual property creation and technological advancements (2022).” Additionally, he was selected as the Best Associate Editor for 2021 (Pervasive and Mobile Computing) and Best Associate Editor for 2022 (Computer Communications). 

In 2011, he was awarded a Chair of Excellence from the University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain, for his “world-class security research results.”

Advisory board roles and consultancies

Dr. Di Pietro is on the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Spain; the Center for Cyber Security at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), UAE; the AIR University, Islamabad, Pakistan; and the Center for Cybersecurity Research of Catalonia (CYBERCAT), Barcelona, Spain.

He has also served as a member of the evaluation committee for the French Institute for Research in Informatics and Automation (INRIA) project team “Security and Confidentiality” (assessed period 2016-2018). 

Dr. Di Pietro is a certified consultant (CISA, CRISC, CGEIT, CRISM) and has also held consulting appointments at international organizations, including the United Nations, U.S.; the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (EUROJUST)---as a seconded national expert; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Austria; and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Switzerland.

He is a research grant expert reviewer for several international bodies (including the ERC) and has provided research support for national agencies in France, Poland, Austria, Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Singapore. He also served as a Selection Committee member for the ACM Heidelberg Laureate Forum (2019-2022).


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Education Profile

  • ​​​​​Ph.D. in Computer Science, University of Roma “La Sapienza,” Italy, 2004
  • Specialization diploma in Operations Research and Strategic Decisions, the Sapienza University of Roma, Italy, 2003
  • M.S. in Informatics, the University of Pisa, Italy, 2003
  • M.S. in Computer Science, the University of Pisa, Italy, 1994