Ranjan Pal

Research Scientist  

Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Email: rpal[at]usc[dot]edu

Office: Henry Salvatori Building (SAL) 200

 

I am teaching INF 521 in Fall 2016.

Lecture Timings - F (12 noon - 2:30 PM), OHE 136

Office Hours - MW (3:30 PM - 5:00 PM), GER 203

 

 

In Office @USC

 

Research Interests

My research domain is information systems. Here, my research interests lie in the design, modeling, and mathematical analysis of (cyber-security, privacy) engineering systems, communication networks, distributed systems, and the Smart Grid. I am one of the pioneers in developing efficient market models and pricing methodologies for cyber-insurance companies insuring networked users and organizations. I belong to the rare research community that thrives to improve systems performance via a multi-dimensional approach jointly involving the economics, mathematics, engineering, policy, and computational aspects of systems.

 

External Affiliations

I currently hold the following (external) corporate and academic affiliations:

Technical (Insurance/Finance Analytics) Advisor - QxBranch

Visiting Researcher - Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (co-leading a national cyber-security initiative (backed by the Govt. of India) with a team of faculty)

Visiting Researcher - Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (co-leading a project on the future Indian railway energy grid with a team from IIM Calcutta, IIT Delhi, and Delhi Metro)

 

Academic Stuff

Full Resume

Patience, Hopes, and The Degree Finally!

My Mathematics Lineage

Wikipedia Cites a Publication from my PhD Research

 

Brief Biography

Ranjan Pal is a Research Scientist at the University of Southern California (USC), affiliated with both the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments, where he co-leads the Quantitative Evaluation and Design Group (QED). His primary research interests lie in the mathematical modeling, analysis, and design of cyber-security, privacy, communication networks, and the Smart Grid, using tools from economics, game theory, applied probability and statistics, algorithms, graph theory, information theory, and mathematical optimization. He received his PhD in Computer Science from USC in 2014, and was the recipient of the Provost Fellowship throughout his PhD studies. During his PhD, Ranjan held visiting scholar positions at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University, USA, and Deutsch Telekom Research Laboratories (T-Labs), Germany. Prior to his Ph.D, Ranjan has held research positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, National University of Singapore, Aalborg University, Indian Institute of Technology, and Indian Institute of Management. Apart, from being an applied mathematician, Ranjan also takes a light interest in information technology policy. His PhD research on cyber-insurance (the first ever Ph.D on cyber-insurance for inter-networked systems) has appeared in USC News, USC Graduate School, Wikipedia, and generated press interests from the MIT Technology Review. He has around 60 publications in journals, conference, and workshops of international repute. Ranjan has also consulted on cyber-insurance for various companies, and is a member of the IEEE, the ACM, the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and the Game Theory Society. Ranjan's 'Erdos number is 4. In his spare time (not that much nowadays :)) Ranjan does international travel, listens to music, watches movies, swims, and plays/watches cricket and soccer. He also has deep interests in Indian philosophy and Vedic astrology.

View Ranjan Pal's profile on LinkedIn

 

My Research - Problem Types, Goal, and Tools

I am an applied (economist, game theorist, mathematician), computer scientist, and engineer currently interested in (i) security and privacy engineering of networked and distributed systems (e.g., Internet, corporate networks, mobile systems, IoT, and Smart Grid), (ii) economic resource management in distributed systems (data centers, ad-driven video streaming systems, Smart Grid), and (iii) computationally efficient data analytics for the Smart Grid. My primary research goal is two fold: (a) revealing fundamental insights into the efficient and/or secure design of engineering systems by (holistically) tapping into the (mathematical) economics, engineering, game theoretic, optimization, learning (data analytics), and psychological aspects of a research problem, and (b) realizing in practice, the efficient design of engineering systems, using computationally efficient methodologies, and tools from both, theoretical as well as experimental economics. More specifically, I do inter-disciplinary research (both fundamental and applied) that lies at the boundary of information security/privacy, applied and experimental economics, game theory, algorithms, applied probability and statistics, network science and graph theory, information theory, and systems optimization. An example of such research is my Ph.D problem, where I investigated the important role of cyber-insurance markets in achieving a robust level of cyber-security, which is currently not present in the Internet due to several techno-social-economic constraints. In this regard, I hypothesized the use cyber-insurance as being an efficient tool that can alleviate these constraints and jointly satisfy the major parties affecting the level of cyber-security today, consequently leading to improved cyber-security. To prove my hypothesis, I had to solve hard multi-party incentive alignment problems that required the use of interdisciplinary tools from economics, game theory, network science, applied probability, and mathematical optimization.

 

Publications

Relevant soft copies can be downloaded from IEEE Xplore and ACM Digital Library.

    Regular Journal Publications

  1. R. Pal, C. Chelmis, M. Frincu, and V. Prasanna: MATCH for the Prosumer Smart Grid: The Algorithmics of Real-Time Power Balance. To Appear in IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 2016
  2. R. Pal and V. Prasanna: The STREAM Mechanism for CPS Security - The Case of the Smart Grid. To Appear in IEEE Transactions of Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, 2016
  3. S-H. Lin, R. Pal, B. Wang, and L. Golubchik: On a Market-Driven Hybrid P2P Video Streaming Approach. IEEE Transactions on Multimedia (conditionally accepted), 2016
  4. R. Pal and P. Hui: Economic Models for Cloud Service Markets: Pricing and Capacity Planning. Theoretical Computer Science (TCS), 2013, Vol 496. (Amongst top 5 accessed TCS papers from 2010-2014)
  5. R. Pal, J. Mitra, and M. N. Pal: Evaluation of Relative Performance of Product Designs: A Fuzzy DEA Approach to Quality Function Deployment. Journal of the Operational Research Society of India, December 2007, Vol 44, No.4. (Undergraduate Work)
  6. R. Pal, S-H. Lin, and L. Golubchik: The Cloudlet Bazaar - Dynamic Markets for the Small Cloud. Submitted to IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, 2016
  7. R. Pal, C. Chelmis, M. Frincu, and V. Prasanna: Optimal Consumer Grouping for the Smart Grid - Randomized Algorithms and Applications. Submitted to IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing, 2016
  8. R. Pal, C-L. Chen, and L. Golubchik - A Privacy Engineering Framework for Big Data . Submitted to Proceedings of the VLDB Endowment, 2016
  9. R. Pal: Improving Network Security via Insurance - A Sustainable Market Analysis, Submitted to IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing, 2016
  10. R. Pal, L. Golubchik, K. Psounis, and P. Hui: Differentiated Security Pricing as an Enabler of Cyber-Insurance - A First Look at a Markets Approach. Submitted to IEEE Transactions of Dependable and Secure Computing
  11. R. Pal and V. Prasanna: Optimal Consumer Grouping for the Smart Grid - Algorithmics Eyeing Demand Response. Submitted to IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 2016
  12.  

    Short Journal (Letter/Notes) Publications

  13. R. Pal and P. Hui: Cyber-Insurance for Cyber-Security: A Topological Take on Modulating Insurance Premiums. ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, 2012, Vol. 40(3).
  14. R. Pal, S. Kosta, and P. Hui: Settling for Less - A QoS Compromise Mechanism for Mobile Social Networks. ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, 2011, Vol. 39(3).
  15. R. Pal and L.Golubchik: Optimal Cyber-Insurance Contracts in Internet Security. ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, 2010, Vol. 38(2).
  16. R. Pal, L. Golubchik, and K. Psounis: A Tight Estimate of Correlated Insured-IT Risk. Submitted to IEEE Transactions on Services Computing.
  17.  

    Conference Publications (Acceptance Rate <= 29%)

  18. R. Pal, L. Golubchik, K. Psounis, and P. Hui: Will Cyber-Insurance Improve Network Security? A Market Analysis. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE INFOCOM, 2014, Toronto, Canada (Acceptance Rate: 19%)
  19. R. Pal and L.Golubchik: Analyzing Self-Defense Investments in Internet Security Under Cyber-Insurance Coverage. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ICDCS 2010, Genoa, Italy. (Acceptance Rate: 14.3%)
  20. S-H. Lin, R. Pal, B. Wang, and L. Golubchik: Sustaining Ad-Driven P2P Streaming Ecosystems - A Market-Based Approach, Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE/ACM IWQoS, 2015, Portland, USA, with ACM FCRC 2015. (Acceptance Rate: 22%)
  21. R. Pal, C. Chelmis, C. Tadepalli, M. Frincu, S. Aman, and V. Prasanna: On Online Time Series Clustering For Demand Response: OPTIC - A Theory to Break the "Curse of Dimensionality", Appeared in Proceedings of ACM E-Energy, 2015, Bangalore, India. (Acceptance Rate: 20%)
  22. R. Pal, L. Golubchik, K. Psounis, and P. Hui: On A Way to Improve Cyber-Insurer Profits - When A Security Vendor Becomes the Cyber-Insurer. Appeared in Proceedings of IFIP Networking, 2013, New York, USA. (Acceptance Rate: 26%)
  23. R. Pal, L. Golubchik, and K. Psounis: Aegis - A Novel Cyber-Insurance Model. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE/ACM GameSec, 2011, Maryland, USA. (Acceptance Rate: 29%)
  24. R. Pal and P. Hui: Modeling Investments in Internet Security - Tackling Topological Information Uncertainty. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE/ACM GameSec, 2011, Maryland, USA., (Acceptance Rate: 29%)
  25. R. Pal and P. Hui: Economic Models for Cloud Service Markets. Appeared in Proceedings of ICDCN 2012, Hong Kong. (Acceptance rate: 28%)
  26. S-H. Lin, R. Pal, M. Paolieri, and L. Golubchik: Performance Driven Resource Sharing Markets for the Small Cloud. Working Paper, 2016.
  27.  

    Top Tier Workshops and Mini Conferences

  28. C-L. Chien, R. Pal, and L. Golubchik: Oblivious Mechanisms in Differential Privacy - Experiments, Conjectures, and Open Questions. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE IWPE, in conjunction with IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2012
  29. R. Pal and P. Hui: Cyber-Insurance for Cyber-Security: A Topological Take on Modulating Insurance Premiums. Appeared in Proceedings of ACM MAMA, in conjunction with ACM SIGMETRICS, 2012, London, UK.
  30. R. Pal and L.Golubchik: Optimal Cyber-Insurance Contracts in Internet Security. Appreared in Proceedings of ACM MAMA, in conjunction with ACM SIGMETRICS, 2010, New York, USA.
  31. R. Pal and P. Hui: On The Economics of Cloud Service Markets. Appeared in Proceedings of the INFORMS Annual Meeting, 2011, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
  32. R. Pal, S. Kosta, and P. Hui: Settling for Less - A QoS Compromise Mechanism for Mobile Social Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of ACM MAMA, in conjunction with ACM SIGMETRICS, 2011, San Jose, USA.
  33. R. Pal, J. Mitra, and M. N. Pal: Efficiency of Software Development Projects - A Fuzzy DEA Approach. Appeared in Proceedings of the INFORMS Annual Meeting, 2001, Miami, USA. (Undergraduate Work)
  34. R. Pal, P. Hui, and A. Kailas: On Social Community Networks - The Problem of Cost Sharing. Appreared in Proceedings of SIMPLEX, in conjunction with WWW, 2012, Lyon, France.
  35. A. J. Nachiketas, R. Pal, K. Naditikuti, Y. Huang, E. Shi, and M. Yu: A Secure Computation Framework for SDNs. Appeared in Proceedings of ACM HotSDN, in conjunction with ACM SIGCOMM, 2014, Chicago, USA.
  36. R. Pal: Cyber-Insurance for Cyber-Security - A Solution to The Information Asymmetry Problem. Appeared in Proceedings of the SIAM Annual Meeting, 2012, Minnesota, USA.
  37. R. Pal: A Real-Time Pricing Model for Electricity Consumption. Appeared in Proceedings of SIAM Conference on Financial Mathematics and Engineering, 2012, Minnesota, USA.
  38. R. Pal and P. Hui: On Differentiating Cyber-Insurance Contracts - A Topological Perspective (short paper). Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE/IFIP Internet Management Conference (IMC), 2013, Ghent, Belgium.
  39. C. Leberknight, R. Pal, M. Chiang, and H. V. Poor: The Sharing-Mart System - Online Digital Content Trading, Online Auctions,and Incentives. Appeared in Proceedings of GameNets, 2011, Shanghai, China.
  40. R. Pal: Alluvion and Cascade - Fast Data Dissemination Schemes in Multi-Hop Wireless Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of ACM Mobishare, 2006, in conjunction with ACM MobiCom, 2014, Los Angeles, USA
  41. R. Pal, J. Mitra, and M. N. Pal: Relative Performance Evaluation of Engineering Designs - A Fuzzy DEA Approach. Appeared in Proceedings of the INFORMS Annual Meeting, 2001, Miami, USA. (Undergraduate Work)
  42. T.Bhasker, R. Pal, and M. N. Pal: Resource Time Exponent Technique (RETIREXT): A Non-Recursive Heuristic for Project Scheduling under Multiple Resource Constraints. Appeared in Proceedings of the Ninth International Workshop on Project Management and Scheduling, 2004, Nancy, France. (Undergraduate Work)
  43.  

    Confidential White Papers for the Indian Government

  44. R. Pal, S-H. Lin, L. Golubchik, K. Psounis, M. P. Gupta, and V. Ribeiro: Improving Networked-Banking Reliability via Cyber-Insurance - Visions and Ideas for Improved Risk-Management in the Indian Modern Banking Sector. Submitted to IIT-Delhi and Govt. of India, 2016
  45. R. Pal, M. P. Gupta, and V. Ribeiro. The Indian Cyber-Assurance Tenet - Policy Recommendations for Protecting the Indian Cyberspace. Submitted to IIT-Delhi and Govt. of India, 2016
  46.  

    Other Publications (Mostly from MS and UG studies) - 30% < Acceptance Rate < 50%

  47. R. Pal: On Wireless Social Community Network Routers - The Design and Cost-Sharing Problem for Better Deployment. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE GLOBECOM, 2010, Miami, USA.
  48. R. Pal: On the Reliability of Multi-Hop Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks Supporting QoS-Driven Applications. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ICC, 2007, Glasgow, Scotland.
  49. R. Pal: Efficient Routing Algorithms for Multi-Channel Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE DySPAN, 2007, Dublin, Ireland
  50. R. Pal and C.-N. Chuah: Characterizing Link Importance in Multi-Channel, Multi-Radio, Multi-Rate Wireless Mesh Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE WCNC, 2008, Las Vegas, USA.
  51. R. Pal and R. Prasad: Characterizing Link Importance in Multi-Rate Cognitive Radio Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE WPMC, 2007, Jaipur India.
  52. R. Pal: A Lexicographic Load-Balanced Routing Scheme for Wireless Mesh Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ICC 2008, Beijing, China
  53. R. Pal, A. Sengupta, D. Idris, and R. Prasad: A Mathematical Framework for Routing and Scheduling Flows in Cognitive Radio Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE WPMC, 2008, Saariselka, Finland.
  54. R. Pal, D. Idris, K. Pasari, N. Prasad: Characterizing Reliability in Multi-Channel, Multi-Radio, Multi-Rate Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ISABEL, 2008, Aalborg, Denmark.
  55. R. Pal, D. Idris, and R. Prasad: Characterizing Reliability in Wireless Body Area Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of International Workshop on Future Wellness and Medical ICT Systems, 2008, Saariselka, Finland, in conjunction with IEEE WPMC, 2008.
  56. R. Pal, N. Prasad, and R. Prasad: A Reliability Constrained Model for Maximizing the Capacity of Opportunistic Mesh Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE Wireless Vitae, 2009, Aalborg, Denmark.
  57. R. Pal, N. Prasad, and R. Prasad: Characterizing Delay Bounds for Broadcasting Applications in Opportunistic Wireless Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE Wireless Vitae, 2009, Aalborg, Denmark.
  58. R. Pal, A. Pal, N. Prasad, and R. Prasad: A Lexicographic Bandwidth Allocation Scheme for Broadcasting in WiMAX Mesh Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE Wireless Vitae, 2009, Aalborg, Denmark.
  59. R. Pal, S. A. Wardana, N. Prasad, and R. Prasad: Reliable Broadcasting in Opportunistic Wireless Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE WPMC, 2009, Sendai, Japan.
  60. S. A. Wardana and R. Pal: Fast and Secure Authentication in Heterogenous Wireless Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE WPMC, 2009, Sendai, Japan.
  61. R. Pal, B. Gupta, and R. Prasad: Efficient Information Processing in Ultra-Low Power Wireless Networks: Ideas from Compressed Sensing. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ISABEL, 2009, Bratislava, Slovakia. \textbf{[Presenter]}
  62. R. Pal, D. Elango, S. A. Wardana, and T. Riaz: Sharing Costs in Social Community Networks - Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ICNC Workshop on Computing Networking and Communications, 2012, Maui, Hawaii, USA.
  63. R. Pal, B. Gupta, E. Cianca, A. Gogar, S. A. Wardana, A. Patel, L-V. The, S. Kaligotla, and B. Ganguly: Playing Games with Human Health - The Role of Game Theory in Optimizing Reliability in Wireless Health Networks. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ISABEL, 2010, Rome, Italy.
  64. S. Bandyopadhyay, K.Hasuike, R. Pal, and M. N. Pal: System Performance Analysis of Wireless Ad-Hoc Networks with Directional Antennas. Appeared in Proceedings of IEEE ICC, 2003, Anchorage, Alaska. (Undergraduate Work)
  65. T.Bhasker, R. Pal, and M. N. Pal: A Time-Efficient Non-Recursive Heuristic for Resource Constrained Project Scheduling Problems. Appeared in Proceedings of the Second World Conference on Productions and Operations Management Society (POMS), 2004, Cancun, Mexico. (Undergraduate Work)
  66. R. Pal and M. N. Pal: Analyzing System Performance in Wireless Ad-Hoc Networks Using Directional Antennas. Appeared in Proceedings of International Conference on Computer and Communication Networks (CCN), 2002, MIT, Cambridge, USA. (Undergraduate Work)
  67. R. Pal, J. Mitra, and M. N. Pal: A Fuzzy DEA Approach on Quality Function Deployment for Evaluation of Relative Performance of Product Designs. Appeared in Proceedings of Latin-Iberian American Congress of Operations Research (CLAIO), 2002, Concepcion, Chile. (Undergraduate Work)
  68. Zoramthanga, R. Pal, and R. Mall: An Adaptive Connection Management Scheme for ATM with Explicit Support for Real-Time and Mission Critical Applications. Appeared in Proceedings of ADCOM, 2001, Bhubaneswar, India. (Undergraduate Work)
  69. R. Pal, J. Mitra, and M. N. Pal: A Fuzzy DEA Approach on Quality Function Deployment for Evaluation of Relative Performance of Product Designs. Book Chapter in Theory of Productivity and Efficiency: Econometric and DEA Approach, Macmillan, 2005, Ed. R.Ghosh and C.Neogi. (Undergraduate Work)

 

PhD Students

I love to work with motivated students having exceptional mathematical/logical abilities and the determination to solve hard but practically useful research problems. I mentor the following PhD students at USC:

Sung-Han Lin (6th year PhD student in CS) (co-advised by Prof. Leana Golubchik)

Chien-Lun Chen (6th year PhD student in EE) (co-advised by Prof. Leana Golubchik)

 

Teaching Activities

Instructor - Applied Cryptography for Information Security Problems (Graduate Level): Fa'16, USC

Teaching Assistant - (Graduate) Analysis of Algorithms: (Fa '13, 'Sp'13, Fa'12, Sp'12, Fa'11, Fa'10), USC [Exceptional TA citation from the USC Computer Science Department, 2012-2013]

Teaching Assistant Research Seminar: Sp'14, USC

Teaching Assistant - Fundamentals of Database Systems (Undergraduate Level): Sp'14, USC

Teaching Assistant - Unix and C Programming (Undergraduate Level): Sp'06, UC Davis

 

Traveling

I love to travel. Life is boring without it!!!. I consider myself immensely lucky to have travelled to various parts of the world for both, academic as well as for holidaying purposes, at a young age. I generally make short yearly trips with friends, and really enjoy and relish the culture, food, nature, and monumental architecture in all the countries I visit. Listed below are the countries I have visited (airports not included :) ).

Asia: Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia

North America: USA, Canada

Europe: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, England, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Spain, and Portugal

 

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