CSE graduate student Thakurt wins Yahoo! award

Abhradeep Guha Thakurt, a graduate student in computer science and engineering in Penn State's College of Engineering, has received the Yahoo! 2011 Key Scientific Challenges (KSC) Program Award.

The KSC Program provides support for graduate students who are conducting research in one of Yahoo's core research areas. This year there were 217 proposals received and only 22 doctoral students were selected.

As a part of the award, Thakurta plans to primarily investigate differential private release of statistic under high-dimensional setting. In problems relating to high-dimensional statistics, typically the number of samples (n) available are much smaller (may be logarithmic) in the dimensionality (p) of the problem. As a result standard statistical estimators cease to produce reasonable estimates because asymptotically p/n does not go down to zero. Recent results in the field of high dimensional statistics show that one can still get a reasonable estimate of the statistic if sparsity is assumed.

He intends to investigate these existing results from high-dimensional statistics literature from the perspective of differential privacy. Another line of work he intends to pursue is on understanding these problems in an online framework.

Thakurta is a member of the theoretical computer science group and is advised by Adam Smith, associate professor of computer science and engineering. His current research revolves around data privacy and releasing of statistical information. Smith is interested in data privacy, cryptography and algorithm design and analysis.

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Last Updated April 26, 2011