Mahesh Balakrishnan and Mariana Raykova to join the Yale Computer Science Faculty

June 5, 2015

Mahesh Balakrishnan will start as an Associate Professor on July 1, 2015, and Mariana Raykova as an Assistant Professor on January 1, 2016.                                               

Dr. Balakrishnan’s research aims to simplify the construction of cloud-based software systems that can scale to millions of users while providing resilience to hardware failures. Today, building such systems is a black art; the online services we use on a daily basis – such as search, social networks, or online shopping – are created and maintained by armies of highly trained experts, yet susceptible to downtime and data loss. Dr. Balakrishnan’s work proposes new abstractions, principles and protocols for programming distributed systems consisting of thousands of machines, democratizing the creation of new applications in the cloud. His research spans the operating system on each machine, the networks inter-connecting them, and the distributed protocols used to coordinate their activity; the end goal is a cloud that’s as easy to program as a desktop machine.

Prior to joining Yale University, Dr. Balakrishnan worked for six years at Microsoft Research and VMware Research.  He obtained his PhD in 2009 from Cornell University under the supervision of Professor Ken Birman.

Dr. Raykova’s work considers the question of how to use private data without losing control over it. In order to conduct most of our daily activities, we are required to provide private information.  At the same time, both individuals and enterprises have now accumulated so much data that they can no longer manage it on their own; rather, they must resort to outsourcing services such as cloud providers. As a result, we have started to lose control over our private information, how it is used, and how it is processed. Dr. Raykova’s research addresses the questions of how to minimize the exposure of private data and how to gain assurance from outsourcing services. Her work provides cryptographic solutions that allow clients to use both storage and computation resources of cloud services while receiving strong security and accountability guarantees and not having to trust the service providers to behave honestly.

Prior to joining Yale University, Dr. Raykova spent a year as a postdoc in the cryptography group at IBM Watson Research Center and two years as a computer-science researcher at SRI.  She obtained her PhD from Columbia University in 2012 under the supervision of Professors Tal Malkin and Steve Bellovin.