Furkan Alaca

Furkan Alaca
Monday, January 13, 2020 - 9:26am

POSITION: Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

ACADEMIC UNIT: Mathematical & Computational Sciences



“I like to build a sense of community within the classroom.”

Furkan Alaca has had a passion for computers almost as far back as he can remember.

Long before it was common for every person to own a computer or smartphone, Alaca’s parents, graduate students at the time, bought a family computer. Alaca’s father taught him some basic programming techniques when he was only seven. Later, during school professional development days, Alaca would spend time at the university’s computer lab while his parents worked. By Grade 4, he was building his own websites.

“Honestly, I don’t remember thinking I’d be doing anything else as a career,” says Alaca, an assistant professor, teaching stream, of computer science. “Even in elementary school, I knew I wanted to do something computer-related one way or another.”

Communications and networking were his initial focus, but during his master’s studies, a graduate course about computer and network security captured his attention, and he pursued a PhD in computer science with a focus on web authentication. “When you build web-based services, how do you determine that the user is who he/she is claiming to be?” he asked. “I was looking toward more secure ways to do so. I’m currently pursuing related topics in web authentication, and hope to convey to students the cutting-edge in security research.”

Alaca has been teaching, both formally and informally, since his undergraduate days. “My classmates would find my explanations helpful, so we’d reserve a room and I’d solve practice problems for them on the board and we’d work together.”

He was pleased by the opportunity to join UTM’s teaching faculty. “I sensed an enthusiasm here for teaching. People are excited about doing it well and being innovative. They’re using a variety of pedagogical techniques and that caught my attention.”

He also enjoys his classroom experiences. “My students are enthusiastic and eager to learn. I like to build a sense of community within the classroom. It helps students learn more effectively, and my hope is that it also supports students’ well-being. I integrate discussion forums directly into my course websites. Students discuss with each other directly on the assignment instruction pages, and I jump in to answer questions and provide feedback. I also use the weekly tutorials as a means to encourage discussion among students.”

Selected Publications:

1. F. Alaca, A. Abdou, P.C. van Oorschot, “Comparative analysis and framework evaluating mimicry-resistant and invisible web authentication schemes,” IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing (To appear; Submitted: 2018-04-14; Accepted: 2019-02-10).

2. M. Alsharnouby, F. Alaca, S. Chiasson. “Why phishing still works: User strategies for combating phishing attacks,” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (Elsevier), vol. 82, pp. 69-82, 2015.

3. S. S. Szyszkowicz, F. Alaca, H. Yanikomeroglu, J. Thompson, “Aggregate interference distribution from large wireless networks with correlated shadowing: An analytical-numerical-simulation approach,” IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, vol. 60, no. 6, pp. 2752-2764, July 2011.

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