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May 2017

May 15 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Techniques to Assist Users for Making Security Decisions

Speaker: Sevtap Duman, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

Our hypothesis is that online systems can be designed with optimized settings to help users to make security decisions efficiently. Thus, in this dissertation, we propose three new approaches that help end-users to make decisions on security: (1) how to distinguish trick banners from legitimate download links, (2) how to identify a legitimate email sender from a spearphishing email attack, and (3) how to aid the end-user in making an informed decision about whether or not an email attachment is malicious.

May 24 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Rigorous Evaluation of Performance and Policy Impacts of Transport Protocols and In-Network Devices

Speaker: Arash Molavi Kakhki, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

This thesis posits that an effective way to address these issues is to create frameworks and tools for rigorous evaluation of approaches for optimizing network performance. By building such tools, we can detect instances of inconsistency between intended and actual network behaviors, diagnose the root causes, and help fix them.

June 2017

June 1 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Impact of Intelligent Personalization on Communication Effectiveness in Dysarthria

Speaker: Mansoor Pervaiz, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

This dissertation proposes that communication effectiveness for individuals with speech impairments can be improved if intelligent interfaces personalize to behavior and context.

July 2017

July 5 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Stabilizing Numeric Programs Against Platform Uncertainties

Speaker: Yijia Gu, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

In this thesis, we investigate reproducibility problems due to platform uncertainties, including non-reproducible control flow and invariants that hold on some platforms but not others. We also provide locally fine-grained provenance information to help users repair reproducibility issues.

July 17 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: A Skill-Based Framework for the Generation and Presentation of Instructional Videogame Content

Speaker: Britton Horn, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

This thesis proposal outlines a framework for determining the skills necessary to successfully complete a game, creating AI-based bots with those skills to reflect players with the same skills, and identifying and generating optimal orderings of levels to promote learning each skill of a game.

July 27 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Abusing Privacy Infrastructures: Analysis and Mitigations

Speaker: Amirali Sanatinia, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

In this thesis, we investigate the abuse of privacy infrastructures from three different perspectives. First we look at the next generation of resilient botnets that rely on Tor for their malicious activity. In the second part, we expose malicious snooping actors inside the Tor network that are integral to the functioning of the hidden services and the dark web. In the third and last part, we propose a novel privacy preserving data collection and analysis framework to study the longevity of hidden services.

July 29 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Techniques for Assisting Users for Making Security Decisions

Speaker: Sevtap Duman, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

Join us to learn how online systems can be designed with optimized settings to help users to make security decisions efficiently.

August 2017

August 4 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Quantitative Assessment of Socio-Affective Dynamics in Autism Using Interpersonal Physiology

Speaker: Oliver Saunders Wilder-Smith, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

The work performed in this dissertation aims to bridge the gap between neuroscientific theory and current best practice in ASD diagnosis, by identifying a dynamic measure of interpersonal interoceptive inference, developing and refining tools to facilitate assessment of interpersonal interoceptive inference, and applying these tools to compare interpersonal physiological measures of socio-affective dynamics with existing behavioral and informant-report measures of social reciprocity.

August 21 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Techniques and Solutions for Addressing Ransomware Attacks

Speaker: Amin Kharraz, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

In this thesis, we argue that it is possible to extend existing defense mechanisms, and protect user data from a large number of cryptographic ransomware attacks. To support this claim, we perform an evolutionary-based analysis to understand the destructive behavior of ransomware attacks and we propose a novel dynamic analysis system as well as an end-point framework to protect user data from ransomware attacks.

August 22 9:00 am - 11:00 am EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Sensor Side-Channel Implications on User Privacy: Analysis and Mitigation

Speaker: Sashank Narain, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

In this thesis, we demonstrate two attacks that exploit motion sensors on smartphones to infer accurate private information about the users such as their typed passwords and their significant locations. To counter our demonstrated attacks and other similar sensor side-channel/location based attacks, we also propose the design and implementation of a mitigation framework, called MATRIX, for the Android ecosystem.

August 29 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Pre-Match Personalized Recommendation to Influence Match Outcomes (and Player Engagement) in Player-versus-Player Video Games

Speaker: Zhengxing Chen, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

This thesis will focus on personalized recommendation techniques in the pre-match stage, the time when game elements determined before a match starts could already have an impact on the final match outcome.
More specifically, it will be focused on the recommendations of initial items and opponents to influence match outcomes.

August 31 10:30 am - 12:30 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: An Affect-Aware Dialogue System for Counseling

Speaker: Lazlo Ring, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

In this thesis, Ring will present a novel approach that allows computers to automatically adapt and respond to a user’s emotional state.  Informed by an analysis of empathic communication in the context of human-human counseling, he developed a theoretical framework that integrates empathy into automated healthcare systems.

September 2017

September 8 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Understanding Issues of Misplaced Trust on the Internet

Speaker: Tobias Lauinger, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

Instead of focusing on a single, specific type of attack, Lauinger will propose to measure at a higher level of abstraction that captures issues related to misplaced trust and violated assumptions in a more general way.  The preliminary results indicate that such measurements can help better understand what drives these issues, and ultimately inform more targeted remediation efforts.

September 11 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

PL Seminar Series: What Does CPS Have to do with Deep Learning?

Speaker: Professor Jeffrey Mark Siskind, PhD, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University

Join is to learn how machine learning can benefit from advanced techniques via programming language theory.

September 19 9:00 am - 10:00 am EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Scalable Ordinal Embedding to Model Text Similarity

Speaker: Jesse Anderton, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

The work Anderton proposes focuses on three tasks: selecting the minimal ordinal data needed to produce a high-quality embedding, embedding large-scale datasets of high dimensionality, and developing ordinal embeddings that depend on contextual features for, e.g., recommender systems.

September 25 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm EDT

Colloquium Talk: The Long Road to Cyber Autonomy

Speaker: Professor Yan Shoshitaishvili, PhD, Assistant Professor at Arizona State University

In this talk, Professor Shoshitaishvili will delve into why this is the case, using the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge as a vantage point to explore the issue.  He will explore the road we have taken to get where we are, the fundamental (and not so fundamental) limitations holding us back, and muse about the next steps.

September 25 5:00 pm - 5:45 pm EDT

Colloquium Talk: The Use of Cloud in Social Development at the World Bank

Speaker: Arthur Joseph Riel, Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Finance IT at the World Bank Group

Join us to learn about the journey that the World Bank has taken over the past four years in the area of cloud development focusing on both internal (for World Bank staff) and external (client countries) efforts.

September 27 11:45 am - 1:00 pm EDT

Colloquium Talk: A Ware: Preventing Abuse of Privacy-Sensitive Sensors via Operations Bindings

Speaker: Professor Trent Jaeger, Computer Science and Engineering Department at Pennsylvania State University (PSU); Co-Director, Pennsylvania State University's Systems and Internet Infrastructure Security (SIIS) Lab

September 27 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

PhD Thesis Defense: Jurisdictional Arbitrage: The Impact of MLAT Cartels and Lawful Intercept in Anonymous Communications Networks

Speaker: Sarah Cortes, PhD Candidate, College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

October 2017

October 10 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Colloquium Talk: Software Security Today: Understanding Code-Reuse Attacks and Reducing Attack Surface

Speaker: Dr. Georgios Portokalidis, PhD, Assistant Professor, Schaefer School of Engineering and Science, Department of Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology

In this talk, Professor Portokalidis will present his work on evaluating the effectiveness of such defenses, based on analyzing them and producing proof-of-concept (PoC) attacks that expose their weaknesses. 

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