Upcoming Exam Talks

See a listing of previous talks.

Sam Sudar, Final Examination

Title: Leveraging the Mobile Web in Resource-Constrained Environments

Advisor: Richard Anderson

Supervisory Committee: Richard Anderson (Chair), Ryan Calo (GSR, School of Law), Franzi Roesner, and Matt Welsh (Google)

Abstract: Mobile phones and the internet are powerful technologies affecting many areas of society. Most advances in these areas disproportionately benefit the wealthy and well-connected. My work has explored ways that mobile technology and the web can be used in resource-constrained settings, and specifically in the developing world. This talk will describe a framework for simplifying mobile workflows and for sharing web content on local networks.

When: 10 Aug 2017 - 10:00am Where: CSE 303

Raymond Cheng, Final Exam

Title: Practical Improvements to User Privacy in Cloud Applications

Advisors: Tom Anderson and Arvind Krishnamurthy

Supervisory Committee: Tom Anderson (Co-Chair), Arvind Krishnamurthy (Co-Chair), Raadhakrishnan Poovendran (GSR, EE), Yoshi Kohno, and Jon Howell (MSR)


As the cloud handles more user data, users need better techniques to protect their privacy from adversaries looking to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Today’s cloud services offer weak assurances with respect to user privacy, as most data is processed unencrypted in a centralized location by systems with a large trusted computing base. While current architectures enable application development speed, this comes at the cost of susceptibility to large-scale data breaches.

In this thesis, I argue that we can make significant improvements to user privacy from both external attackers and insider threats. In the first part of the thesis, I develop the Radiatus architecture for securing fully-featured cloud applications from external attacks. Radiatus secures private data stored by web applications by isolating server-side code execution into per-user sandboxes, limiting the scope of successful attacks. In the second part of the thesis, I focus on a simpler messaging application, Talek, securing it from both external and insider threats. Talek is a group private messaging system that hides both message contents as well as communication patterns from an adversary in partial control of the cloud.

Both of these systems are designed to provide better security and privacy guarantees for users under realistic threat models, while offering practical performance and development costs. This thesis presents an implementation and evaluation of both systems, showing that improved user privacy can come at acceptable costs.

When: 10 Aug 2017 - 2:00pm Where: CSE 305

Hamid Izadinia, General Exam

Title: Semantic 3D Scene Understanding for Virtual and Augmented Reality

Advisor: Steve Seitz

Supervisory Committee: Steve Seitz (Chair), Daniela Rosner (GSR, HCDE), Brian Curless, Alexei Efros, Sergey Levine

Abstract: Semantic 3D scene understanding is essential in applications that incorporate interaction with the 3D world such as Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). In my talk, I will explore several prior approaches on semantic 3D scene understanding for VR/AR applications and propose a 3D scene CAD model reconstruction from single image. Given a single photo of a room and a large database of object CAD models, our goal is to reconstruct a scene that is as similar as possible to the scene depicted in the image, and composed of objects drawn from 3D shape database. My proposed work is a completely automatic system to address this IM2CAD problem that produces high quality results on challenging indoor scenes by iteratively optimizing the placement and scale of objects to best match scene renderings in simulation to the input image, using image comparison metrics trained via deep convolutional neural nets.  We also show the applicability of our method in standard scene understanding benchmarks where we obtain significant improvement.

When: 15 Aug 2017 - 2:30pm Where: CSE 303

Irene Zhang, Final Examination

Title: Distributed Operating Systems for Mobile/Cloud Applications

Advisor: Hank Levy

Supervisory Committee: Hank Levy (Chair), Scott Hauck (GSR, EE), Arvind Krishnamurthy, and Luis Ceze

Abstract:   The convergence of ubiquitous mobile devices, large-scale cloud
  platforms and pervasive network connectivity have changed the face
  of modern user applications.  Unlike a traditional desktop
  application of the past, which runs on a single machine and supports
  a single user, the typical user-facing application today spans
  numerous mobile devices and cloud servers while supporting large
  numbers of users.  This shift has significantly increased the
  difficulty of building user applications due to the challenges of
  the mobile/cloud environment (e.g., partial failures, network
  partitions) and the new requirements of mobile/cloud applications
  (e.g., availability, scalability).  At the same time, existing
  systems do little to help application programmers cope with these
  challenges and requirements.

  This thesis proposes a new type of mobile/cloud operating system
  designed to meet the needs of modern applications.  Mobile/cloud
  applications are the standard application of the future; thus, they
  deserve a first-class operating system to simplify their development
  and management.  This thesis includes three systems that make up the
  world's first mobile/cloud operating system: (1) Sapphire, a new
  distributed runtime and process management system, (2) Diamond, a
  new distributed memory management system, and (3) TAPIR, a new
  distributed storage system.  Together, these systems introduce
  several new operating systems abstractions and mechanisms designed
  to eliminate the challenges and simplify the requirements of
  mobile/cloud applications.  This thesis demonstrates that, like
  operating systems of the past, these systems make it easier for
  application programmers to build larger and more complex

When: 25 Aug 2017 - 10:00am Where: CSE 303