Q: Where did you grow up? Tell us about your background?
I grew up in Northern India, in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. Interestingly, all my family members (except me) are physicians. However, I studied Computer Science. I got my undergraduate degree from IIT Delhi and PhD from UT Austin.
Q: What's your favorite sport?
Being from India I naturally love cricket. But my favorite sport is soccer. I religiously follow Manchester United.
Q: Can you briefly summarize your research?
My research is in the area of computer systems, in particular, in building systems that provide strong security and privacy properties. As one example, I built an on-demand video delivery system, called Popcorn, that hides, even from the video service provider, the knowledge of which movie a user is watching. That is, the video service provider is able to serve movies without knowing which movies users are requesting!
Q: What are your short term and long term research goal?
As a researcher, I want to create technology that deeply impacts society and finds widespread use. With my line of work on private systems, I want to demonstrate a practical alternative to the status quo---a world in which people’s right to privacy on the web is not left solely in the hands of laws, policies, trust, and hope, but vigorously defended through technical solutions.
Q: What courses are you looking forward to teaching?
I think I will have a lot of fun teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in systems and security area. I am also looking forward to teaching special topics courses on blockchain, distributed ledgers, and cryptocurrencies.
Q: Why Computer Science at UCSB? What influenced your decision?
UCSB CS is a highly reputed institution with a top-notch faculty. Obviously, the aforementioned matters but there is another big reason---a rare-to-find family-like warmth. UCSB was my last job interview and I was naturally tired. However, somewhat counterintuitively, I felt re-energized by the end of the interview. Faculty members at UCSB frequently collaborate and passionately support each other. Students and faculty are also incredibly entrepreneurial. I felt that UCSB CS is not only high-quality but also a fun place to be.