Graduation and plans

May 20, 2009 at 6:35 am 3 comments

I defended my Ph.D thesis earlier this month, and I will soon be starting as a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford supervised by Dan Boneh. I’m very excited! I will still work on data anonymity, but it will not be my sole research focus.

Here is the introductory chapter to my thesis, formatted as a stand-alone document. I expect it to be useful mainly as a glossary and a very brief survey of data collection and sharing. It explains why non-interactive data sharing is popular and why anonymization is so tempting as a privacy protection mechanism.

As you can see, the chapter is less than 4 pages long, excluding references; the rest of my thesis consists of my papers concatenated together. Fortunately, the doctoral dissertation is generally treated as a formality in Computer Science, a fact that I am very grateful for since a dissertation is a stupendously inefficient way of communicating research results. I’m glad that my committee members made my life easy, while also providing useful comments on my defense talk.

I presented the social network de-anonymization paper at the S&P conference today at Oakland. Email me for the slides.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Your Morning Commute is Unique: On the Anonymity of Home/Work Location Pairs Privacy Law Scholars Conference

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bart Cart  |  May 25, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I’m glad you won’t be dropping the subject of data anonimity. Too many people completely change their are of expertise once they start post-doctoral stuff.

  • 2. Sean  |  September 10, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I don’t think this is really true. Many people in CS spend effort on their theses, and they are often good introductions to the field. Plus, I think it is useful for PhD students to get a broader perspective. I am not criticizing your dissertation, but I disagree with calling it a formality.

    • 3. Arvind  |  September 11, 2009 at 3:16 am

      Let me rephrase that. While it’s true that many people try to write meaningful theses, most CS departments and advisors seem to be fine with students treating it as a formality.

      Believe me, I’m all about the broader perspective. (I’m actually working on a survey now that tries to unite many threads of research in disparate fields under a single umbrella.) But again, I think that for most people the thesis is a poor avenue for saying actually useful things, because you are typically laboring under the constraint of somehow making it a superset of your papers.


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I’m an associate professor of computer science at Princeton. I research (and teach) information privacy and security, and moonlight in technology policy.

This is a blog about my research on breaking data anonymization, and more broadly about information privacy, law and policy.

For an explanation of the blog title and more info, see the About page.

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