During the spring semester I was a research intern at the Security and Privacy group at IBM Research Zurich to do research in cryptography. Under the guidance of Julia Hesse, I worked on Oblivious Pseudorandom Functions (OPRFs), which are a fundamental cryptographic primitive used in privacy-preserving technologies. We wrote a systematic overview of how to build and use OPRFs, which you can read here. We published the paper at IEEE EuroS&P 2022, where it was one of the EuroS&P 2022 Distinguished Paper Award Finalist.

In the summer I joined the OpenDP project at Harvard as a PRISE fellow (Program for Research in Science and Engineering), which is building an open-source library of differentially-private (DP) algorithms to develop general-purpose and vetted tools for DP. These allow practitioners to analyze sensitive data while mathematically guarantying individuals’ privacy. Under the supervision of Salil Vadhan and along students Connor Wagaman and Grace Tian, we spent the summer writing proofs for the algorithms in the library (https://github.com/opendp/opendp) to ensure that the implementations of the DP algorithms in the library satisfied the privacy guarantees that we expect in theory. However, in the process of doing so, we realized that some of the algorithms were in fact not satisfying their DP guarantee due to the use of finite data types. This became a long research project which culminated on this paper. We published it at ACM CCS 2022 and also presented it at TPDP 2022 (located at ICML), where it was selected for one of the six spotlight talks at TPDP. The OpenDP library has now implemented some of our solutions; you can follow the new library releases here.

In the fall I was finally able to return to the US after being away for more than a year due to the pandemic. I took Boaz Barak’s cryptography class, where we did a final research project on quantum and classical algorithms for bounded distance decoding (BDD), which you can read here. Our project originated from this paper by Eldar & Hallgren on a quantum algorithm for BDD and the subsequent response by Ducas and van Woerden that the LLL algorithm already solves it. I also took a fantastic seminar on the philosophy of Mathematics by Justin Cavitt; here you can read an essay about Kant and pure mathematics, and here one about the different axiomatic systems in geometry.

I was also a teaching fellow for CS 120: Introduction to Algorithms and Their Limitations, taught by Salil Vadhan. This was the first iteration of the course, so it was very exciting to help develop the materials! I was also the co-president of the group Gender Inclusivity in Mathematics along with Jessica Shand and the co-academics director for Women in CS with Katherine Tian. Here you can read the interviews for our GIIM project “Women of the Math Department”, for which we interviewed more than 30 women in the department.