Qi Alfred Chen

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Ph.D. Students


Fall-2024 PhD Positions at CS@UC Irvine (AI/Systems/Network Security Focus)

Professor Alfred Chen in the Computer Science (CS) department of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at University of California, Irvine (UCI) is hiring 2 to 3 highly-motivated PhD students in the area of AI/systems/network security in Fall 2024, with the focus on emerging safety-critical CPS/IoT systems such as autonomous cars/drones/robots (link1, link2, link3, link4, link5, link6, link7), intelligent transportation (link1, link2, link3), and smart home (link1, link2).

Professor Chen's research focuses on the security and privacy of computer technologies that are of high criticality to our daily life and society. So far, he has been mainly performing research on the security/privacy issues in emerging AI/systems/network technologies, especially the latest ones with high societal impacts such as those powering the emerging AI-enabled autonomous vehicles and intelligent transportation systems. His efforts have led to over 40 research papers across top-tier venues in security (IEEE S&P, Usenix Security, ACM CCS, ISOC NDSS), machine learning (CVPR, ICCV, ICLR), software engineering (ICSE, TSE), robotics (IROS),  mobile systems (MobiSys, MobiCom), transportation (T-ITS, TRR, TRB, IV), etc. Professor Chen is constantly serving on top-tier research venues in related areas (e.g., IEEE S&P, Usenix Security, ACM CCS, ISOC NDSS, CVPR, ECCV, NeurIPS, ICRA, IROS, INFOCOM, etc.), and is also the leading co-founder of the ISOC Sympsoium on Vehicle Security and Privacy (VehicleSec), which is the first conference dedicated to vehicle security and privacy topics, and DEF CON’s first AutoDriving-theme hacking competition (DEF CON is one of the world's largest and most notable hacker conventions).

One of the major focus of Professor Chen's research is the applicability and impacts of the research outcome on real-world systems. So far, his work has found a large number of security flaws in various real-world systems ranging from autonomous vehicle systems, smart traffic light system, Android, to network protocols such as in V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything), TCP, and DNS. These findings have led to a U.S. DHS (Department of Homeland Security) US-CERT Alert, multiple CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) and Android bug tracking records, and vulnerability acknowledgements from security teams in Apple, Microsoft, Diamler, Comcast, and IEEE standardization workgroups. Most recently, his group's research was able to trigger over 30 autonomous vehicle companies and IEEE 1609 workgroup (for connected vehicle protocol standardization) to start security vulnerability investigations; some confirmed to work on fixes. Due to such impacts, the works from his group are also covered in more than 50 news articles by major technology new media such as Fortune, Ars Technica, CNET News, BBC News, Wired, etc. Professor Chen has also received various awards such as NSF CAREER Award, NDSS’19 and NDSS’20 best poster awards, UCI Chancellor’s Award for mentoring, and UMich university-wide Distinguished Dissertation Award. More details can be found in his webpage at https://www.ics.uci.edu/~alfchen/.

Any students with strong background on AI/software/systems/networking knowledge, and/or with good programming or reverse engineering skills are encouraged to apply. Security background, adversarial AI/ML, static or dynamic program analysis, and/or sensor/analog security experiences are not required but big pluses. If you are interested in practical security problems and enjoy hacking, the position would be an excellent fit.

UCI has been ranked as top 10 public universities in US (33rd overall) for 10 consecutive years. UCI belongs to the University of California (UC) research university system (one of the most influential university systems across the world), and is the only campus in the UC system that has a standalone school for Computer Science. The UCI CS department is ranked #27 by U.S. News & World based on reputation, and ranked #25 by CSRanking (https://csrankings.org) based on research publications. Irvine is one of the best places to pursue a PhD: it not only is safe (safest city among the medium-to-large cities in US for 17 consecutive years) and pleasant to live (always sunny, right next to big cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego, and also has diverse authentic food options for different countries and cultures), but also is close to all the high-tech companies in California for rich job opportunities (e.g., Google, Amazon, Meta, Apple, Qualcomm, Broadcom, etc.).

All applications need to be submitted through the official admission website, with the deadline at 12/15/2023. GRE is not required. If you have questions or are really interested in the research topics and want to introduce yourself, you can drop your CV and transcript (unofficial is fine) at alfchen@uci.edu.