BU Cyber Alliance Hosts 11/28 Seminar, Featuring Adam Smith

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM on Tuesday, November 28, 2017
BU Law, Room 204

Pinning Down “Privacy” in Statistical Data
Adam Smith
Professor, Computer Science and Electrical & Computing Engineering

Abstract: Smith will discuss the problem of guaranteeing the confidentiality of individuals’ information when aggregate statistics about a data set are made available. This is the problem faced by statistical agencies such as the Census Bureau when they publish statistical summaries, and also by companies that collect sensitive data about user behavior. He’ll talk about a few of the ways computer scientists and statisticians have approached this problem, the pitfalls they discovered, and how these approaches agree (and don’t) with some relevant legal frameworks. Finally, he will also try to extract some lessons for formalizing privacy guarantees in other settings.

Bio: Adam Smith is a research professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Boston University. His research interests lie in data privacy and cryptography, and their connections to machine learning, statistics, information theory, and quantum computing. He obtained his Ph.D. from MIT in 2004 and has held visiting positions at the Weizmann Institute of Science, UCLA, and Harvard. He previously was a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2009; a Theory of Cryptography Test of Time award in 2016; and the 2017 Godel Prize. These last two awards were joint with C. Dwork, F. McSherry, and K. Nissim.