Viterbi School of Engineering
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Office: Henry Salvatori Building (SAL) 200
At Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles, 2015
My research interests lie in the design, modeling, and analysis of efficient cyber-security, privacy, and communication network systems. I generally use tools from economics, game theory, algorithms, applied probability, and mathematical optimization to realize my interests. While most of the current security, networking, and distributed systems communities only focus on technically improving system performance, I belong to the small community that thrives to improve systems performance via a multi-dimensional approach jointly involving the economics, technology, and policy of systems.
List of Publications when a Ph.D Student (See below to download softcopies)
My Place in the Family of Mathematicians
Wikipedia Cites a Publication from my PhD Research
I am a Research Scientist in the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. I am associated with the school's Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments. I co-supervise the Quantitative Evaluation and Design (QED) research group in the department of Computer Science with Professor Leana Golubchik, and collaborate with the P-Group, led by Professor Viktor Prasanna, in the department of Electrical Engineering. In principle, I am a weird mix of (i) a computer scientist, (ii) applied economist and mathematician, and (iii) an engineer :). I graduated with a Ph.D from the Department of Computer Science at USC in December 2014. My thesis advisors were Professors Leana Golubchik and Konstantinos Psounis. For my PhD, I also collaborated with Professor Pan Hui of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. My major research interest lies in the area of cyber-security, privacy, and communication networks - especially performance modeling aspects of these using economics, game theory, algorithms, applied probability, and mathematical optimization, with the end goal of making cyber-security and privacy as robust as possible, and improving/optimizing network performance. I also have a minor research interest in applied machine learning. During my PhD, I was a recipient of the prestigious Provost Fellowship at USC. As a PhD student at USC, I have held visiting research positions at Princeton University and Deutsch Telekom Research Laboratories, Germany. In the past, as an undergraduate and as a masters student, I have held research positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National University of Singapore, University of California, Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, and Aalborg University, Denmark. My Erdos number is 4. In my spare time (not that much nowadays :)) I do international travel, listen to music, watch movies, swim, and play/watch cricket and soccer. I also have a deep interest in Indian philosophy.
My Research - Problem Types, Goal, and Tools
I am an applied theorist currently interested in (i) interdisciplinary security and privacy in networked and distributed systems (e.g., mobile Internet, social networks, IoT and cyber-physical systems), and (ii) resource management in distributed systems - specifically, data centers and ad-driven video streaming systems. My primary research goal is two fold: (a) revealing fundamental insights into the efficient and/or secure design of communication systems by holistically integrating the economics, technical, game theoretic, optimization, learning, and psychological aspects of a research problem, and (b) realizing in practice, the efficient design of communication systems, using computationally efficient tools 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, applied and experimental economics, game theory, algorithms, stochastic processes, network science and graph theory, systems optimization, and applied machine learning. 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 problems that required the use of interdisciplinary tools from economics, game theory, network science, applied probability, and mathematical optimization. It was extremely challenging but great fun at the same time. My PhD research impact was reported by (i) USC Graduate School and (ii) USC News . Wikipedia cites one paper from my PhD thesis . I was also interviewed by MIT Technology Review on my PhD work. [My PhD Thesis, My PhD Defense Talk]
My Current Projects
I lead the following research projects at USC.
To USC Students: Please email me if you are interested in working on any of these projects.
Publications from my Ph.D
My publications here cover (i) "cyber-insurance" and its impact on improving cyber-security #[1-11], and (ii) research topics during my various academic assistantships and internships #[12-26]. Paper venues in bold denote regular journal articles. I have been the main author in all of the papers, except two.
I advise the following graduate students at USC.
Harsh Bhuwania (MS student in EE) (also co-advised by Prof. Leana Golubchik)
Shashwat Shankar (MS student in EE) (also co-advised by Prof. Leana Golubchik)
Sung-Han Lin (PhD student in CS) (mentor, alongside his advisor Prof. Leana Golubchik)
Selected Graduate Coursework
While a graduate student, I had taken the following graduate level courses.
(1) Design and Analysis of Algorithms (MIT), (2) Mathematical Analysis (USC), (3) Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes (USC), (4) Mathematical Optimization (USC), (5) Performance Analysis of Systems (USC), (6) Network Economics and Network Game Theory (USC), (7) Computational Geometry (UC Davis), (8) Artificial Intelligence (MIT) (9) Statistical Machine Learning and Graphical Models (USC), (10) Computer Networks and Distributed Systems (USC and UC Davis), (11) Engineering Management (UC Davis), (12) Computer Security (USC), (13) Cloud computing (USC), (14) Software-Defined Networking (USC), and (15) Database Systems (USC)
I was a Teaching Assistant in the following courses during my graduate studies.
1. (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]
2. Research Seminar: Sp'14, USC
3. Fundamentals of Database Systems (Undergraduate Level): Sp'14, USC
4. Unix and C Programming (Undergraduate Level): Sp'06, UC Davis
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