Professor Atallah's research interests are primarily in information security, and also include algorithms, parallel computation, and computational geometry. His work in information security centers on protocols for online collaborations between entities that do not completely trust each other, on key management issues in access control, and on watermarking digital objects (particularly non-media, such as relational data and natural language text).
He obtained the Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1982 and immediately joined the Computer Science Department at Purdue University, where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1986, to Professor in 1989, and to Distinguished Professor in 2004. His research interests include information security, distributed computing, algorithms, and computational geometry. A Fellow of both the ACM and IEEE, he has served on the editorial boards of top journals, and on the program committees of top conferences and workshops. He was keynote and invited speaker at many national and international meetings, and a speaker nine times in the Distinguished Lecture Series of top Computer Science Departments. He was selected in 1999 as one of the best teachers in the history of Purdue and included in a permanent wall display of Purdue's best teachers past and present.