"Courage is found in unlikely places."-J.R.R. Tolkien

Ashwini Rao is a Ph.D. student in Software Engineering in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Ashwini currently works on the Usable Privacy Policy Project, and her advisor is Prof. Norman Sadeh. Ashwini is so enamored with academics and industry that she keeps switching between the two. In the process she has acquired significant experience in computer systems and security, completed two masters degrees (MS Computer Security, Carnegie Mellon University; MS Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay), finished a bachelors degree (BS Computer Science and Engineering, University of Mysore), and held four full time jobs (Qualcomm Incorporated, San Diego, CA; Appian Corporation, Reston, VA among others).

About me

Love debugging > design >> coding :)


Research Interests

Privacy, law, security, usability





Recent Events

28 Feb 2014: Paper on choosing examples in security studies accepted at ACM Science of Security Symposium (HOTSOS'14)

15 Jan 2014: Newsmaker Honoree at 2014 Networking with the Newsmakers event hosted by Trib Total Media. Photos and Newsmaker details

12 Dec 2013: Our research on improving usability of privacy policies by identifying privacy conflicts featured in Carnegie Mellon Link Magazine

14 Nov 2013: Password/passphrase research showcased at Campus Celebration event during the inauguration of President Suresh


Ashwini Rao, Hanan Hibshi, Travis D. Breaux, Jean-Michel Lehker, Jianwei Niu. Less is More? Investigating the Role of Examples in Security Studies using Analogical Transfer. 1st ACM Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security (HOTSOS'14), Raleigh, North Carolina, April 2014.
Travis D. Breaux, Ashwini Rao. Formal Analysis of Privacy Requirements Specifications for Multi-Tier Applications (nominated for best paper). 21st IEEE Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'13), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 2013. [ PAPER ] [ TECH. REPORT ]
Ashwini Rao, Birendra Jha, Gananand Kini. Effect of Grammar on Security of Long Passwords . 3rd ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy (CODASPY'13), San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 2013 [ PAPER ] [ TECH. REPORT ]
Travis D. Breaux, Hanan Hibshi, Ashwini Rao, Jean-Michel Lehker. Towards a Framework for Pattern Experimentation: Understanding empirical validity in requirements engineering patterns. 2nd IEEE Workshop on Requirements Engineering Patterns (RePa'12), Chicago, Illinois, Sep. 2012. [ PAPER ] [ PPT ]
Ashwini Rao, Birendra Jha, Gananand Kini. Effect of Grammar on Security of Long Passwords . Poster presentation, Joint Summer Schools on Cryptography and Principles of Software Security, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, May 30 - June 1, 2012. [ POSTER ]
Ashwini Rao. Compression in Memory Constrained DBMSs. Masters Thesis, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India, Jun. 2005. [ PDF ]
* Name may be listed as Ashwini Rao Acharya

Media mentions

"Who shares your data?"
Link Magazine
Read our research paper
"Bad grammar make good password, research say"
NewScientist, Scientific American, CMU Homepage, ACM TechNews, NPR, SlashDot, Ars Technica, DailyMail
Read our research paper

Curriculum Vitae

CV ]


Office: 4123 Wean Hall, Carnegie Mellon University