A few notes for students.
High school students
I do occasionally take exceptional high school students into my lab over
the summer. Students need to be highly self-motivated and independent,
and have good math and/or programming skills. Unfortunately, I am usually
not able to fund high school students.
- If you got an A or A- in my class, I can probably write you a good
recommendation letter. Occassionally, I will write a good letter for a
student who gets a B+ as well.
- I generally do not submit recommendations using online services
that have a non-trivial Terms Of Service. If your school uses such a
service, you will need to request a paper version for any of my recommendations.
- I do typically take a student or two each summer for an undergraduate
research project. These students typically have good grades and significant
programming and/or math experience. If you are interested in doing
undergraduate research, you should schedule an appointment to discuss this
with me, ideally well before the summer UROP deadline.
Thank you for expressing interest in our ECE graduate program at Boston
University. As I am sure you can understand, I am regularly swamped with
interest letters from prospective students, and it is very difficult for me to
answer all of them, much less provide assessment of the likelihood of acceptance.
For most cases, the best situation is to simply apply to our program so
that I can view your application in context of other applications in
the given year.
In general, my research focuses on system security and networking, utilizing
fundamental tools from algorithms, error-correcting codes, number theory
and the like.
Though my lab does have openings for incoming graduate students, these
positions are typically extremely competitive. Things that I look for in my
- Good grades from a good school, especially in classes relevant to my
research, including advanced courses in cybersecurity (offensive/defensive, malware,
operating systems), software (engineering, embedded systems, system C, C++/Java), and
fundamental mathematics (number theory, combinatorics, graph theory).
- Publications in English-language journals, esp. top-rated IEEE or ACM
- Interesting and intelligible ideas for future directions related to my
Tips for contacting me
I get quite many
e-mails each week from students interested in PhD
research. The vast majority of them are formulaic mail-merges, and I do not
have time to respond to them. If you are truly interested in contacting me
about research possibilities, may I humbly suggest:
- Get my name right. Sending me an e-mail addressed to a different faculty member
or to my first name alone (or some variation thereof) presents an easy filtering
- Demonstrate interest. The easiest way to do this is to spend a few minutes looking
at my recent research and making specific, intelligent comments about your thoughts
related to this research in an e-mail.
- Provide specific evidence of the kinds of things that interest me from the list above.
It is very rare for me to take post-docs into my lab. Acceptable candidates
must have an extraordinarily strong research record in their PhDs, with
relevance to my interests.