Awards

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Evgenios Kornaropoulos Wins The Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award

Click the link that follows for more news about other Brown CS winners of the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award and other recent accomplishments by our students.

Every year, Brown University's Graduate School recognizes four students who are receiving doctoral degrees for superior achievements in research: one each in the humanities, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. This year, one of the recipients of the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award is Evgenios Kornaropoulos of Brown CS, who successfully defended his thesis two weeks ago. He is the Department of Computer Science's second winner of this prestigious award, following Stefan Roth. The award and an honorarium will be given out at the Graduate School Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 26.

"As the volume and complexity of generated data grow," Evgenios explains, "users would like to maintain the ability to issue expressive queries on their data without sacrificing privacy. Encrypted databases are one of the most promising approaches towards this direction. However, this efficiency comes with the price of leaking information about the plaintext data. In my thesis, we use an algorithmic approach to develop rigorous attacks on encrypted databases and secure protocols." 

Specifically, Evgenios's work addresses the limitation of standard leakage profiles in encrypted databases under widely-used expressive queries such as range queries and k-nearest neighbor queries. "In the works published from my thesis," he says, "we show that even though we have cryptographic proofs that guarantee that the interaction between a client and a server leaks nothing more than a well-defined piece of information, we are still discovering what an adversary can infer from the leaked information. Using a plethora of algorithmic tools from areas such as computational geometry, statistics, learning theory, probabilistic analysis, and optimization, we devise new attacks that recover the plaintext values of encrypted databases under minimal assumptions about the query and the data distribution. Hopefully, our findings will pave the way towards new efficient cryptographic designs that defend against our attacks." 

When asked about the experience of doing a PhD at Brown CS, Evgenios says, "I am thrilled to call Prof. Roberto Tamassia my academic father. His experience, rigor, and patience helped me sharpen my technical skills as well as my research taste. I also feel very fortunate to interact frequently with our professors that lead by example such as Prof. Vasileios Kemerlis and the rest of our Security Group. Finally, a big part of my thesis came out of my interaction with my academic sibling Prof. Charalampos Papamanthou from University of Maryland who is doing outstanding research and always sets the bar high. It is an honor to receive this prestigious award from our Graduate School and I am thankful for our professors and staff for making my graduate studies such a rewarding experience!" 

A full list of winners is available here.

The image above is © 2019 by Kirtley Righi and used with permission.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.