“Adulting” for cybersecurity, GANs, and more: CyLab’s 2022 seed funding awardees

Daniel Tkacik

Mar 4, 2022

Over $400K in seed funding has been awarded to 18 different faculty and staff across seven departments at Carnegie Mellon to support security and privacy research. Funding was awarded based on projects’ intellectual merit, originality, fit towards CyLab’s priorities, and potential impact.

“We’re excited to be able to support security and privacy researchers across a range of disciplines,” says CyLab director Lorrie Cranor. “The projects we are supporting this year are representative of the diverse research found in CyLab.”

The awards selection committee, made up of CyLab-affiliated faculty and representatives from partner organizations, prioritized the following aspects in no particular order when making their selections:

  • Collaboration between CyLab faculty in multiple departments
  • Projects led by or having significant involvement of junior faculty
  • Seed projects that are good candidates for follow-on funding from government or industry sources
  • Projects that are making good progress but reaching the end of their previous funding and need funding to finish or to continue the project until other sources of funding are obtained
  • Efforts to transition research to practice, e.g. by preparing software for release as open source projects, conducting field trials, or deploying research results in real-world applications
  • Projects that can get started quickly and make significant progress with a small amount of funding
  • Non-traditional projects that may be difficult to fund through other sources
  • Education or outreach projects aimed at broadening participation in the security and privacy field

Recipients of the awards will be required to submit brief quarterly reports outlining the progress of the project and present a talk or poster at the annual CyLab Partners Conference this Fall.

This year's project titles and affiliated faculty are shown below.


Combining Program Synthesis and GANs for Automatic Test Case Generation

  • Giulia Fanti, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
  • Limin Jia, Associate Research Professor, ECE and the Information Networking Institute (INI)


Automatically Identifying Security Property Violations in Protocol Implementations


Towards Achieving Secure and Private Distributed Computing: Random K-out Graphs to the Rescue


Towards an Extensible, Automatically Tailored, and Optimized Compiler for Secure Multi-Party Computation

  • Wenting Zheng, Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department (CSD)


Zero Knowledge Proof Taxation


Privacy-preserving computational cameras


Standing the Test of Time: Long Term Economic Impact of Privacy Regulation


Assuring safety and resilience in affordable IoT systems

  • Yorie Nakahira, Assistant Professor, ECE
  • Anthony Rowe, Professor, ECE


Thirty-Day Adulting Challenge for Cybersecurity


Beyond Local Pseudo-random Generators with applications to Program Obfuscation

  • Pravesh Kothari, Assistant Professor, CSD
  • Aayush Jain, Assistant Professor, CSD


A Secure Speculative Execution Abstraction Across Hardware and Software