Department of Computer Science
Viterbi School of Engineering
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Economics of Information Security, Mathematical Modelling in Computer/Network Security and Reliability
Network Economics, Game Theory in Security, Network Algorithmics and Optimization
Ph.D Candidate - Department of Computer Science, University of Southern California, USA (Advisors: Professors Leana Golubchik and Konstantinos Psounis)
M.S. - Computer Science, University of California Davis, USA
M.S - Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and National University of Singapore
B.E. - Computer Science, Birla Institute of Science and Technology, Mesra
Research Affiliations During Ph.D
VSRC (Visiting Student Research Collaborator) - Princeton University, USA  (Mentor: Professor Mung Chiang)
Visiting Researcher - Deutsch Telekom Research Laboratories (T-Labs), Berlin, Germany [2011-2012] (Mentor: Dr. Pan Hui)
Research Intern - Cyan Inc., USA  (Mentor: Dr. Xin Huang)
Visiting Researcher - Center for TeleInfraStruktur (CTiF), Aalborg University, Denmark  (Mentor: Dr. Ramjee Prasad)
I am an Indian fifth year Ph.D candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California's (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering . My current major research interest lies in the area of economics and mathematical modeling of distributed network security. I also have a minor research interest in network economics, applied game theory, and software-defined networking. I am a recipient of the prestigious Provost Fellowship at USC. In the past, as an undergraduate and as a masters student, I have held research positions related to network reliability and network optimization at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, India, and Center for TeleInfrastruktur, Aalborg, Denmark. My Erdos number is 4. In my spare time I do international travel, listen to music, watch movies, swim, and play/watch cricket.
The Flavor of My Research
I am a theory guy primarily interested in the mathematical modeling and analysis of several aspects in networked and distributed systems. My main goal is to reveal fundamental insights into the efficient design of communication systems. I like to solve problems that are challenging, interesting, and have good practical value. My Ph.D research is on investigating 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. The research is inter-disciplinary in nature and lies at the boundary of information security, micro-economics, game theory, and systems optimization. As secondary Ph.D research, I also work on small scale practical problems related to network economics and applied game theory. In the near future, I plan to adopt the "theory-to-practice" approach in designing and building robust and efficient communication systems.
Ph.D Thesis Statement
Most defense, corporate, and civilian systems today are Internet-based. The trustworthiness of Internet-based systems heavily depends on their security characteristics. It has been forecasted by national defense experts that the next big terrorist threat is a cyber-war. Thus, strong data protection and efficient cyber risk management is the need of the hour. Despite the increasing amount of research in strengthening security solutions, and large body of products being designed to increase security, e.g.,anti-virus software, anti-spam software, and firewalls, such self-protection tools can at best reduce the risk of end-users but cannot eliminate it. One of my main reasons for this is the effect of misaligned incentives between security product vendors, network users, and regulatory agencies. To this end, in this thesis I propose to address residual risk elimination through cyber-insurance - simply put, I consider solutions where risk is transferred to another entity (i.e., insurance company) in return for a fee (i.e.,the insurance premium). Cyber-insurance is a promising, potentially multi-billion dollar industry that can help secure the cyber-space, with profound benefits to individuals, corporations, security product vendors, and the government. I am not the first to argue in favor of cyber-insurance. Economists have attempted to extend conventional insurance models into the cyber-insurance context, and, quite recently, a few researchers from the broader networking and performance analysis communities have attempted to shed some light on the issues associated with cyber-insurance. However, despite this body of work, cyber-insurance has not yet become a reality due to a number of unresolved research challenges as well as practical considerations. A number of these challenges are rooted in some fundamental differences between cyber-insurance and other forms of insurance. Most notably, the networked environment over which cyber-insurance operates implies that the usual assumptions of independent security and non-correlated risk among end-users cannot be made. Moreover, information asymmetries between insured and insurers are particularly pronounced, making the modelling of such entities quite complex. My goal in this thesis is to focus on those aspects of the problem that are particular to cyber-insurance (in contrast to other forms of insurance), with the end goal of moving towards the realization of efficient cyber-insurance markets that benefit cyber-users, security product vendors, cyber-insurers, regulatory agencies, and the network as a whole.
Tools used in my thesis: Microeconomics, Algorithms, Game Theory, Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes, Mathematical Optimization, Graph Theory
USC Graduate School writes about my research, USC News reports my research
Publications in Ph.D (Main Thesis)
Publications in Ph.D (Network Economics and Applied Game Theory)
My publications here cover topics that I got associated with during course projects at USC, and my summer visits at Princeton University, Aalborg University, and Deutsch Telekom Research Laboratories. As a versatile researcher, I proposed simple solutions to a few small-scale problems in health networks, monetary file-sharing systems, social community networks, mobile social networks, and cloud computing.
Publications prior to joining Ph.D (UG, MS)
Selected Graduate Coursework
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes
Mathematical Optimization (primarily convex optimization, slight emphasis on vector space optimization)
Network Economics and Network Game Theory
Performance Analysis of Systems
Computer Networks (The Internet, wireless networks, and distributed systems)
Statistical Machine Learning
1. (Graduate) Analysis of Algorithms: Teaching Assistant, (Fa '13, 'Sp'13, Fa'12, Sp'12, Fa'11, Fa'10), USC [Avg. Rating - 4.26/5], Exceptional TA citation from the USC Computer Science Department, 2012-2013
2. Unix and C Programming (Undergraduate Level): Teaching Assistant, Sp'06, UC Davis [Avg. Rating - 3.36/4]
Summer Research Appointments
1. Research Intern- Cyan Inc. USA, Summer of 2013
2. Visiting Researcher - Deutsche Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs), Berlin, Germany, Summers of 2011 and 2012
3. Visiting Researcher - Electrical Engineering Department, Princeton University, USA, Summer 2010
4. Visiting Researcher - Center for TeleInfrastruktur (CTiF), Aalborg University, Denmark, Summer 2009
1. On Security Monitoring in Software-Defined Networks - A Game-Theoretic Perspective : T-Labs, USA, March 2013.
2. On Improving Cyber-Security Through Insurance - A Tale of Insurance Markets: Symantec Research Labs, USA, December 2012.
3. Real-Time Pricing in Power Grids: Ecole Polytechnique Federal De Lausanne (EPFL), June 2011
4. An Insurance Approach to Internet Risk Management , Technical University of Lisbon, December 2009.
5. An Insurance Approach to Internet Risk Management , Nokia-Siemens Networks, Portugal, December 2009
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 an 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
Europe: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, England, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Spain, and Portugal