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  • BS in Computer Science and Civil Engineering, Tufts University

About Me

  • Hometown: Burlington, Vermont
  • Field of Study: Cryptography
  • PhD Advisor: Daniel Wichs


Ariel is a PhD student in the Cryptography program at Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, advised by Professor Daniel Wichs. The Burlington, Vermont native is a graduate of Tufts University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Civil Engineering. Ariel’s research focuses on cryptography, and she is a member of the Algorithms & Theory Group, Security Group, and the MIT Lincoln Lab. She is interested in applying cryptographic primitives to allow outsourced data storage and usage.

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

I am a PhD student in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences studying cryptography with Professor Daniel Wichs. Before coming to Northeastern I worked at the MIT Lincoln Lab, where I focused on the application of cryptography for secure databases.

What are your research interests?

My current research looks into how to securely outsource data to the cloud. Under that unifying theme, I am interested in examining the intersection of secure search protocols and the impacts that leakage has on their security. Ultimately, I would like to pursue efficient solutions to mitigate leakage in these protocols using primitives such as Oblivious RAM. This is an extension of the work that I have pursued at Lincoln.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

I have found the intersection and extension of existing cryptographic techniques for data storage and use fascinating. The opportunity to advance the field and provide a tangible advancement and a protocol that others may actually use is certainly a motivating factor. I would like to provide a framework to evaluate the trade off between security and leakage. Using that as motivation, I would like to continue to develop solutions along different points of that curve, pushing the boundary of efficiently hiding access patterns in secure database systems.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting?

I think one of the more interesting things that the recent leakage attacks have shown is that even when formal leakage functions are defined and security of the schemes have been proven, one cannot really evaluate the security without context and data.

What are your research or career goals, going forward?

Cloud is not going away, and more and more data will continue to move into systems run by untrusted hands. I would like to apply my research to provide tangible, usable security systems to help mitigate some of the security threats faced by users in these situations.

Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?

I earned my undergraduate degree at Tufts University and originally planned on being a civil engineering major. However, following my love of cryptography that I had nursed since the sixth grade, I asked the right question at the right time to the right person. Seven years later, I have embarked on a PhD and have not used my civil engineering degree. Fate is funny like that.