Dr. Rachel Cummings at Columbia University invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Scholar position to conduct research related to differential privacy (DP), in partial collaboration with Dr. Gabriel Kaptchuk (Boston University) and Dr. Elissa Redmiles (Max Planck Institute for Software Systems).
DP has seen tremendous success in both theory and practice, and has been recently deployed by major organizations in industry (eg. Apple, Microsoft, Uber, etc…) and the government (U.S. Census Bureau). DP’s mathematical precision also makes its privacy guarantees difficult to understand, and there is no clear consensus on how to effectively communicate or regulate the technical guarantees of DP. We aim to develop improved methods to communicate the statistical nature of DP’s protections to stakeholders such as end-users, data analysts, lawyers, policymakers, or executives.
Additionally, the use of DP in practice has brought about novel technical and algorithmic challenges for the theory of DP. These include the need for DP algorithms for machine learning tasks, DP algorithms in settings with dynamic data, methods for improving the privacy-accuracy tradeoff, and DP models that integrate tools from cryptography (e.g., shuffle model). We also aim to develop improved differentially private algorithms that better meet the needs of practitioners.
The Postdoctoral Research Scholar will work towards these goals through a combination of designing and conducting surveys and cognitive interviews, analyzing data, designing and analyzing differentially private algorithms, and outreach to key stakeholders. We hope to work closely with the candidate to explore directions for this research effort. The candidate will be expected to perform original research, present the results of the research at scientific meetings, and publish the results in research conferences and journals.
- Ph.D. in Computer Science, Mathematics, Operations Research, or related field
- Expertise in differential privacy
- Strong mathematical skills OR rigorous survey or computational social science training
- Expertise in Science and Technology Studies
- Excellent written and verbal English communication skills
Applications must include: (a) a curriculum vitae, (b) a statement of research, and (c) contact information of 2-3 references who can provide letters, if requested. Applications should be emailed to email@example.com with the subject line “Postdoc Application”. Applications should be submitted by Feb. 15, 2023, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
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