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Best Student Paper Award at European Symposium on Algorithms

We are delighted to announce that Peter Kiss, a PhD student in the Theory and Foundations Research Division, has received the best student paper award at European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA) 2023, for his joint work with Joakim Bilkstad for the paper: "Incremental (1-eps)-approximate dynamic matching in O(poly(1/eps)) update time". The paper considers the problem of maintaining a large matching in a graph that is undergoing a sequence of edge insertions. They present an algorithm for this fundamental problem in dynamic graph algorithms, which has near-optimal approximation ratio and an update time that does not grow at all with the size of the input and is also polynomial in 1/\eps (the error parameter). In addition, their approach is simpler than previous algorithms on the same problem that achieved weaker guarantees.

Wed 13 Sep 2023, 12:10 | Tags: People Research Theory and Foundations

Mustafa Yasir Presents Project Work at the 3rd Annual Workshop on Graph Learning Benchmarks at KDD 2023

Mustafa Yasir, a former Warwick Department of Computer Science student who graduated in Summer 2023, wrote up and presented an academic paper on the work carried out as part of his third year project. The paper was accepted to the 3rd Annual Workshop on Graph Learning Benchmarks at KDD 2023, and was presented in California by Mustafa.

Mustafa's third year project idea, supervised by Dr Long Tran-Thanh and titled 'Extending the Graph Generation Models of GraphWorld', started whilst he was interning at Google last summer. Mustafa contacted some researchers at the company working in the Graph ML space, to ask for any relevant project ideas. He bumped into a team who had just published GraphWorld: a tool to change the way Graph Neural Networks are benchmarked, by creating synthetic graph datasets through graph generation models – as opposed to using real-world datasets that are limited in their generalisability and present a major issue facing the field of Graph Learning.

However, since GraphWorld only used a single graph generation model in this process, Mustafa integrated two additional models with the system, ran large-scale GNN benchmarking experiments with these models and published his code to Google’s official GraphWorld repository. The project provides a significant advancement to researchers across the field looking to benchmark models and guide the development of new architectures.

Dr Long Tran-Thanh commented:

What Mustafa and the GraphWorld team has been working on is very important for the machine learning and AI research communities. In particular, there has been a vocal criticism against the whole field that most models are trained on the same public datasets (e.g., ImageNet, MNIST, etc), therefore are not diverse enough. One way to mitigate this issue is to generate realistically looking synthetic data. This need is especially of importance in within the graph learning community. GraphWorld’s aim is to address this exact problem by creating a powerful and convenient tool that can generate a diverse set of graphs, ranging from large social network-style graphs to molecule-inspired ones. Joining this project with the Google researchers is a huge opportunity for Warwick students to participate in a very impactful project.

Faculty PhD Thesis Prize Awarded to Teddy Cunningham

We are pleased to announce that Dr Teddy Cunningham has been awarded a Faculty of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (SEM) PhD Thesis Prize. Each year, the SEM Faculty funds a prize for the best PhD/EngD thesis entered into the competition. Each department nominates a winner out of the applications received after a judging process as determined by the Faculty.

Teddy’s thesis is titled “Generating and Sharing Differentially Private Spatio-Temporal Data Using Real-World Knowledge”, and was supervised by Prof Hakan Ferhatosmanoglu. The thesis includes solutions for sharing trajectory data using local differential privacy, and incorporating constraints and relationships of data records into differential privacy that improves their utility while preserving the theoretical privacy guarantees. An example application is using road network information for improving the quality of privately shared location datasets.

New spin-out to make e-voting more secure, accessible and trustworthy

Researchers from the Systems and Security theme, Department of Computer Science have created a new spin-out company, SEEV Technologies Ltd, to build end-to-end (E2E) verifiable e-voting systems for future elections. An E2E verifiable voting system allows every voter to verify that their vote is properly cast-as-intended, recorded-as-cast and tallied-as-recorded while preserving the voter's privacy. SEEV (self-enforcing e-voting) is a new paradigm of E2E voting technology that enables voters to fully verify the tallying integrity of an election without needing any trustworthy tallying authority, hence the system is "self-enforcing".

This joint spin-out from the University of Warwick and Newcastle University is built on an ERC-funded starting grant ("Self-Enforcing E-Voting System: Trustworthy Election in Presence of Corrupt Authorities", No. 306994, PI: Professor Feng Hao) initially hosted at Newcastle University and later transferred to the University of Warwick. The company is co-founded by Professor Feng Hao and Dr Siamak Shandahshti (co-inventors), and led by Dr Stewart Hefferman (CEO). SEEV has been prototyped and successfully tested in several trials in the past, supported by an ERC Proof of Concept grant (No. 677124), a Royal Society International collaboration award (CA\R1\180226), and an Innovate UK Cybersecurity Academic Startup Accelerator Programme (CASAP). SEEV Technologies Ltd has received seed funding from Oxford-based Global Initiative to build SEEV systems for real-world elections.

A University of Warwick press release is here.

Mon 24 Jul 2023, 15:03 | Tags: Research Data Science Systems and Security

5 papers accepted to FOCS 2023

IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science 2023

Five papers from the Theory and Foundations (FoCS) Research Group and the Centre for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP) have been accepted to the 64th IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS 2023), the IEEE flagship conference in theoretical computer science that will be held on November 6 - 9, 2023 in Santa Cruz, California, USA:

Thu 20 Jul 2023, 02:14 | Tags: Research Theory and Foundations

Best Paper Award and 5 papers at the 50th ICALP conference

Henry Sinclair-BanksHenry Sinclair-Banks, a PhD student in the the Theory and Foundations (FoCS) Research Group and the Centre for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP), has won a Best Paper Award at ICALP 2023, the 50th EATCS International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming. ICALP is the main conference and annual meeting of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS).

Henry's paper, co-authored with researchers from Germany and Poland: Marvin Künnemann, Filip Mazowiecki, Lia Schütze, and Karol Węgrzycki, addresses the coverability problem in vector addition systems (VASS), a well-known model of concurrent systems. Coverability is an algorithmic problem for the verification of "safety properties": whether the system always avoids a set of bad states. Henry and his co-authors determine how much time is required to solve this problem in the worst case. They develop an algorithm that improves upon the state of the art that has stood for forty years. They also prove that, in several settings, it is impossible to decide coverability substantially faster, unless there is also a faster algorithm for a classic problem such as Boolean satisfiability (SAT) and finding cycles of fixed length in graphs.

ICALP In total, 5 Warwick papers will appear at this year's ICALP: EATCS logo

This July's ICALP will be the 50th edition of the conference.

Fri 02 Jun 2023, 14:11 | Tags: Research Theory and Foundations

Spying on the Spy: Security Analysis of Hidden Cameras

When you purchase an IP-based spy (hidden) camera for surveillance, are you aware that others may be spying on what you are watching? Recent research by Samuel Herodotou in the Department of Computer Science, Warwick, as part of his third-year undergraduate dissertation project under the supervision of Professor Feng Hao, has revealed a wide range of vulnerabilities of a generic camera module that has been used in many best-selling hidden cameras. Exploiting these vulnerabilities, an attacker may capture your hidden camera's video/audio streams from anywhere in the world, and furthermore, take complete control of the camera as a bot to attack other devices in your home network. To launch the attack, all the attacker needs to know is merely your hidden camera’s serial number. It is estimated that these vulnerabilities affect millions of hidden cameras, mostly sold in America, Europe and Asia. The (insecure) peer-to-peer network that is used by the affected cameras is also being used by 50 million IoT devices as a general communication platform. Hence, many millions of other IoT devices may also be affected. Researchers have responsibly disclosed findings to the manufacturers, and a CVE has already been assigned. Samuel will present this research work at the 17th International Conference on Network and System Security (Canterbury, UK, 14-16 August 2023). More details can be found in the paper.

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