CIFellow-Scott Coull (Mentor Michael Reiter)

Principal Investigator: Michael Reiter
Funding Agency: Computing Research Association
Agency Number: CIF-51

A professor plays several key roles in the academic community, including those of researcher, teacher, mentor, and project manager. Thus, in order for a student to successfully transition into the position of professor, he must gain proficiency in each of these roles. With that in mind, I would like to take the opportunity offered by the Computing Innovation Fellows program to gain the experience necessary to become a productive member of the academic community. By exploring problems in the areas of network data anonymization and adversarial machine learning. I hope to develop solutions that help direct future research efforts in those areas and provide practical methods for addressing immediate problems. Additionally, I would like to hone my skills as an educator by teaching a graduate-level course in applied cryptography. Aside from research and teaching, I would also like to gain experience as a mentor and manager by supervising graduate students on a number of smaller research projects. Finally, I hope to participate in several other professional development activities, such as participation in program committees and grant writing activities, which help introduce me to aspects of academic life that I was not exposed to as a graduate student.

The primary focus of my fellowship would be in addressing two research problems in the field of information security. The first of these research projects seeks to develop the theoretical underpinnings of network data anonymization and explore its connections to the well-established field of microdata (e.g., census data) anonymization. The second research project deals with problems that arise when applying machine learning methods to security problems in adversarial environments. Beyond the two research projects, I will also be continuing work in developing practical oblivious databases that simultaneously protect user privacy and preserve the functionality of traditional databases.

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