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Ryan Williams

PhD Student


Office Location

805 Columbus Avenue
6th Floor, Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC)
Boston, MA 02120


  • MS in Computer Science, University of Southern California
  • BS in Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles

About Me

  • Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
  • Field of Study: Security and Privacy
  • PhD Advisors: David Choffnes and Long Lu


Ryan Williams is a PhD student studying Security and Privacy at Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, advised by Professors David Choffnes and Long Lu. Before coming to Northeastern, he obtained a BS in Mathematics from the University California, Los Angeles, after which he discovered his passion for computer science and graduated with a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2014. He then started doing research work at Raytheon BBN Technologies. His research is mainly focused in mobile and web app security, and he is interested in how machine learning methods can be applied to automated binary analysis and exploitation, especially program hardening and vulnerability detection.

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

I completed my Master’s in 2014 and have been working at Raytheon BBN Technologies doing research since.

What are your research interests in a bit more detail? Is your current academic/research path what you always had in mind for yourself, or has it evolved somewhat? If so, how/why?

I initially started university studying mathematics. When I realized that I didn’t want to pursue that subject further, I started my graduate degree in computer science. Since then, my research focus has primarily been in mobile and web application security.

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

I would like to explore how machine learning methods can be applied to automated binary analysis and exploitation.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting/fascinating to you? What aspects of your research (findings, angles, problems you’re solving) might surprise others?

Security and privacy of mobile and IoT devices is becoming increasingly more important as these devices are so ubiquitous. Working across both shared and disparate platforms makes the problem space quite vast.

What are your research/career goals, going forward?

I hope to work to create novel approaches to automating stages of binary analysis, including vulnerability detection and program hardening.