If you want to work with me...

Do you want to work with me?
Take a look at my personal and group pages to see the type of work we are doing.
Do you still want to work with me?
If so, are you currently at Columbia? [Yes] [No]
"haf to say the seacret code to come in T and U's room"

Current Columbia students:

PhD students: If you want to discuss research with me, you're probably in the theory or security groups, and know where to find me (you can always just email me). If I am your advisor, you better not need to rely on this page in order to reach me... However, since you're here, I will point you to Mike Rosulek's materials for new PhD students. This contains really excellent information, I highly recommend it.

Undergrad and MS students: I don't typically have funding for research projects, but I do frequently supervise research projects for credit (via COMS 3998, 4901, or 6901 classes). These tend to be of one of the following types:

The number of projects of each type that I have available is small and changes by semester, as do factors like whether a project is individual or a group project, whether the goals are very concrete or open ended, how much input you will have in defining the goals, and what the specific project requirements are.

In general, before working with me on a project, you must have taken COMS 4261 Introduction to Cryptography (or obtained the equivalent knowledge elsewhere). Occasionally, I may take a strong student who hasn't taken such a cryptography class (for example, I sometimes have implementation projects with fairly narrow required cryptographic background).

Note that you should not count on a project definitely resulting in a publication. This would be nice, but it is rare (for me at least) to have a research problem that I know in advance is of the exact right level of difficulty so that it is interesting enough and can be completed within a semester. Research is not this predictable and tidy. Instead, the goal would be to learn and gain insight into the subject matter, as well as develop your skills and gain some insight into the process of reserach. If along the way we manage to advance the state of the art and get a publication, that is a great bonus.

If you're interested in working with me, please email me, and include your background in cryptography, your interests, and any classes you have taken in theoretical computer science (and how you have done). If you are interested in an implementation project, also include your background in security and your implementation experience. If you have not taken COMS 4261, please include an explanation of why you think you may still be qualified (and interested) to work with me.

Students and researchers who are not currently at Columbia:

Due to the large quantity of email that I get from people outside Columbia, I do not always respond. In particular, I will not evaluate your chances to get admitted for MS or for PhD based on your CV and materials -- please don't email me with this request. I'd also advise you not to email any faculty member with a form letter that is not specific and personally tailored (I regularly get emails along the lines of "Dear Sir, I came across your research and found it super interesting, please can we work together?"; such an email is not likely to yield a positive response). Here are my answers to frequently asked questions I receive.

High-school Students: I don't currently work with high school students on individual projects. This may change in the future.

Prospective Interns: I don't take interns from outside Columbia (summer or otherwise), except under extremely rare circumstances. This is because Columbia students are easier for me to find and evaluate, and I almost never have the funding or the time for supervising an external student. In my many years at Columbia I've only made a couple of exceptions, for students who satisfied a specific need that arose in my lab, and had a very strong track record and recommendations from colleagues that I knew well. If you think you may be such a student, you can email me to make the case (please include the name of your recommender).

Prospective MS Students: If you are interested in applying to the MS program in Computer Science, check the departmental information and FAQ at the link, and apply there. We have a track on foundations of computer science and a track on computer security, both of which may be relevant to students interested in cryptography.

Prospective PhD Students: Students admitted to our PhD program in Computer Science get financial support, and are admitted with an advisor or a group of potential advisors. I admit about one student a year on average, though this varies depending on funding and the size of my current group. Sometimes I don't admit any individual PhD students, but join the theory group in general co-admission of students to the group. In any case, if you may want to work with me, apply at the link above, and mark my name. I try to look at all such applications, unless I am definitely not planning to admit anyone. If you want to email me with specific questions or with pointers to specific aspects of your application that I may otherwise overlook, feel free to do so. I will try to answer.

Postdocs and Visitors: Availability of postdoc positions in the crypto group varies, although more often than not I don't have funding for such positions (I give priority to funding PhD students, but sometimes I do have funding for postdocs, researchers on sabbatical, etc). Over the years I've also had some productive visits from self-funded researchers, or helped researchers in their application for outside postdoc funding to work with me at Columbia. I am still open to such opportunities (depending on my current availability of time and mental bandwidth). If you think you are a great fit for my research group, and you have a very strong track record, feel free to email me (and it would help if you include the names of your recommenders).