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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.

5+ papers accepted to STOC 2023

ACM logoSTOC logo SIGACT logo

Several papers from the Theory and Foundations (FoCS) Research Group and the Centre for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP) have been accepted to the 55th ACM SIGACT Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC 2023), the ACM flagship conference in theoretical computer science that will be held on June 20-23, 2023 in Orlando, Florida, USA:

Further, there are two more accepted papers autored by Shuichi Hirahara, who was affiliated with the department and the FoCS group during the submission time, in Autumn 2022:

  • "Capturing one-way functions via NP-hardness of meta-complexity" by Shuichi Hirahara.
  • "Hardness self-amplification: Simplified, optimized, and unified" by Shuichi Hirahara and Nobutaka Shimizu.
Sun 19 Feb 2023, 12:18 | Tags: Research Theory and Foundations

Prof. Adi Shamir receives Honorary Doctorate from Warwick

Prof. Adi ShamirProf. Adi Shamir (Weizmann Institute of Science), the world-renowned cryptographer and a recipient of the ACM Turing Award 2002 (the highest honour in computer science received jointly with Prof. Ronald Rivest and Prof. Leonard M. Adleman), visited our campus in January 2023 to collect an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Warwick. During his visit, Prof. Shamir gave also a research talk at the DIMAP seminar and CS Colloquium entitled "Efficient Detection of High Probability Cryptanalytic Properties of Boolean Functions."

Prof. Paterson introducing Prof. Shamir in DIMAP seminarProf. Shamir has been known in Warwick since 1976, when he spent a year as a post-doc with our own Prof. Mike Paterson. Directly after Warwick Prof. Shamir went to MIT, where together with Adleman and Rivest he invented the famous RSA public-key cryptography algorithm for encoding and decoding messages, used nowadays by millions to securely transmit messages over the internet. The work on RSA has been immensely influential and led to the 2002 A.M. Turing Award for the three co-inventors, cited for the “ingenious contribution for making public-key cryptography useful in practice.” Other noticeable awards (for RSA and other numerous contributions to cryptography and computing) received by Prof. Shamir include the 2000 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award, the Israel Mathematical Union Erdős Prize in Mathematics (1983), the Vatican Pontifical Academy PIUS XI Gold Medal (1992), the Association for Computing Machinery Paris Kannellakis Theory and Practice Award (1996), the Israel Prize in Computer Science (2008), and the Japan Prize in the field of electronics, information, and technology (2017), and the Foreign Member of the Royal Society (2018).

Complexity breakthrough by Dr Shuichi Hirahara

Dr Shuichi Hirahara, a research fellow affiliated with the Theory and FoundationsLink opens in a new window group and an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, has made a significant advance towards our understanding of the limits and possibilities of efficient computations. In his recent paper "NP-Hardness of Learning Programs and Partial MCSP", published at the 63rd IEEE Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS 2022), Dr Hirahara established the NP-hardness of learning efficient programs and of estimating the circuit complexity of an explicitly given partial Boolean function. The main result of the paper addresses a question that dates back to the pioneering work of Stephen Cook and Leonid Levin on the theory of NP-completeness from the 1970s.

The new result has been presented at several institutions, including UT Austin, Columbia University, Warwick (Online Complexity Seminar), MIT, and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley. The latter is running a semester-long program on "Meta-Complexity" that is closely related to Hirahara's recent contributions.

You can read more about it at the popular Computational Complexity Blog, where the discovery has been named "Complexity Result of the Year" (see also Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP).
Fri 03 Feb 2023, 17:36 | Tags: People Highlight Research Theory and Foundations

Outstanding MSc students

The department would like to congratulate our 2021-2022 MSc students on their end-of-year results. Additional congratulations go to the following outstanding students, who have been awarded academic prizes:

  • Herby Bowen - best overall graduating MSc student in Computer Science
  • George Wright - best MSc dissertation in Computer Science entitled "Countering Antimicrobial Resistance with Machine Learning"
  • Kartik Jain - best overall graduating MSc student in Data Analytics and best MSc dissertation in Data Analytics entitled "Football analytics: A novel approach to estimate success"
Thu 05 Jan 2023, 15:54 | Tags: People Courses Highlight Research Faculty of Science Teaching

Warwick Quantum papers accepted to the top quantum conference QIP

Two papers by members of Warwick Quantum were accepted to QIP 2023, the most prestigious conference in Quantum Computing and Quantum Information.

These works provide a methodology for boosting the power of quantum algorithms using deep mathematical tools from additive combinatorics, as well as provide the techniques, tools, and abstractions necessary to answer when classical zero-knowledge protocols remain secure against quantum attacks.

  • "Quantum Worst-Case to Average-Case Reductions for All Linear Problems" by Vahid R. Asadi, Alexander Golovnev, Tom Gur, Igor Shinkar, and Sathyawageeswar Subramanian.
  • "Post-Quantum Zero Knowledge, Revisited" by Alex Lombardi, Fermi Ma and Nicholas Spooner.
Fri 25 Nov 2022, 17:43 | Tags: Research Theory and Foundations

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