Qi Alfred Chen

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Ph.D. Students


Fall-2022 PhD Positions at CS@UC Irvine (AI/Software Security Focus)

Professor Qi 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 motivated PhD students in the area of AI/software security, especially in emerging IoT/CPS systems such as self-driving cars (link1, link2, link3, link4, link5), intelligent transportation (link1, link2, link3), and smart homes (link1, link2).

Professor Chen is an expert in discovering and addressing security problems in emerging technologies such as autonomous driving, intelligent transportation, and smart home systems, especially those at the software and AI stacks. His work has found multiple security flaws in various real-world systems ranging from autonomous driving systems, smart traffic light system, Android, to network protocols such as in V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything), TCP, and DNS. These 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. Specifically, his research recently triggered over 30 autonomous driving companies to start security vulnerability investigations; some confirmed to work on fixes. His research was constantly published in top-tier systems security conferences (IEEE S&P, Usenix Security, CCS, and NDSS), and covered in more than 50 news articles by major technology new media such as Fortune, Ars Technica, CNET News, BBC News, Wired, etc. He is also the co-founder of the AutoSec (Automotive & Autonomous Vehicle Security) workshop (co-located with NDSS (top-tier security conference) since 2021). He received various awards such as NSF CRII Award, NDSS’19 and NDSS’20 best poster awards, UCI Chancellor’s Award for mentoring, and UMich university-wide Distinguished Dissertation Award. His group won the champion (1st place) in the world’s first AutoDriving Security CTF organized by Baidu Security in 2020, and co-created DEF CON’s first AutoDriving-theme hacking competition in 2021 (one of the world's largest and most notable hacker conventions). More details can be found in his webpage at https://www.ics.uci.edu/~alfchen/.

Any students with strong background on software/AI/system/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 is ranked #36 in US universities (#9 in public universities) by U.S. News & World in 2022. The CS department is ranked #30 by U.S. News & World based on reputation, and ranked #25 by CSRanking (https://csrankings.org) based on research publications. Irvine is absolutely the best place to pursue a PhD: it not only is safe (one of safest city in US for over 10 years) and convenient to live (1-hour drive to both Los Angeles and San Diego so has the best food from different countries and shopping malls across US), but also has nice weather (alway sunny) and surrounding attractions to best achieve work-life balance (close to all the top theme parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studio, and the best beaches around the world).

All applications need to be submitted through the official admission website, with the deadline at 12/15/2021. 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.

Student applying from the People's Republic of China may also wish to consult the 1point3acres forum for information on the program.