"Is it possible for a machine to think?" (whether the action of this machine can be described and predicted by the laws of physics or, possibly, only by laws of a different kind applying to the behaviour of organisms). And the trouble which is expressed in this question is not really that we don't yet know a machine which could do the job. The question is not analogous to that which someone might have asked a hundred years ago: "Can a machine liquefy a gas?" The trouble is rather that the sentence, "A machine thinks (perceives, wishes)" seems somehow nonsensical. It is as though we had asked "Has the number 3 a colour?"

- Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue Book, [44], p.47.
"This was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule, because every course of action can be brought into accord with the rule. The answer was: if every course of action can be brought into accord with the rule, then it can also be brought into conflict with it. And so there would be neither accord nor conflict here.That there is a misunderstanding here is shown by the mere fact that in this chain of reasoning we place one interpretation behind another,as if each one contented us at least for a moment, until we thought of yet another lying behind it. For what we thereby show is that there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which, from case to case of application, is exhibited in what we call “following the rule” and “going against it”.That’s why there is an inclination to say: every action according to a rule is an interpretation. But one should speak of interpretation only when one expression of a rule is substituted for another."

- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, §201.

Bio.

I am a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at Boston University and a Fellow at the Hariri Insitute for Computing. I am interested in Cryptography and specifically in the design and analysis of secure protocols. I am very excited about coming up with privacy preserving algorithm for the public good and would like to get a better understanding of policies surrounding data sharing and computation in the cloud.

Im currently working under the direct supervision of Prof. Mayank Varia and previously worked closely with Prof. Andrei Lapets.

I received my B.E. in Computer and Communication Engineering in 2016 from the American University of Beirut with a Minor in Mathematics, and my Masters in Computer Science from Boston University in 2018.

Current Research

Blacklisting Encrypted Messages

We extend the Signal messaging system to encorporate a federated blacklist and compare encrypted messages against it.


keywords. Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data, Oblivious Data-Structures, Secure Computation.

Polling via Private Web Browsing History Aggregates

We make previous work on polling assessments via web browsing aggregates secure and robust.


keywords. Machine Learning, Secure Multi-Party Computation, Federated Learning, Differential Privacy.

Static Pages via MPC

We design a protocol over TLS1.3 where auditors can maintain a static version of a page.


keywords. TLS1.3, Secure Multi-Party Computation, Key-Derivation, Signatures.

Privacy Preserving Route Recommendation

We design a malciously secure privacy preserving route recommendation protocol that meets modern day demands.


keywords. Secure Multi-Party Computation, Graph Algorithms, Differential Privacy, Zero-Knowledge Proofs.

JIFF: Web-Enabled MPC

We develop a usable multipurpose MPC framework that relies on modern webstack technologies.


keywords. Secure Multi-Party Computation, Usability, Distributed Systems.

Cost Estimation of MPC protocols via Static Analysis - Carousels

We automatically statically analyze MPC protocols written in JIFF & RUST in order to infer relevant cost measurements with respect to a cost specification.


keywords. MPC, Static Analysis, Performance Predicition, JIFF.

Previous Research

Fast MPC Network Distance by Symbolic Optimization of Unrolled Loops

We design a optimized MPC protocol for the network distance problem that stages between offline & online computation.


keywords. Graph Algorithms, Secure Multi-Party Computation, Symbolic Analysis.

Modeling of the respiratory airways

We design and automatically generate an electric circuit representation of the respiratory airways by drawing from neural systems models.


keywords. Circuit Synthesis, Mechanical–Electrical Analogies, Advection-Diffusion, Hodgkin–Huxley, Neuron.
Undergraduate Research.

Arabic Temporal Entity Normalization

We extract and normalize arabic "time expressions" and give them a meaningful value within their respectful context.


keywords. Natural Language Processing, Morphological Analysis, Ontology Language.
Undergraduate Research.


Publications

Tutorial: Deploying Secure Multi-Party Computation on the Web Using JIFF,
KD Albab, R Issa, A Lapets, P Flockhart, L Qin, I Globus-Harris,
SecDev 2019.

Role-Based Ecosystem for the Design, Development, and Deployment of Secure Multi-Party Data Analytics Applications,
A Lapets, KD Albab, R Issa, L Qin, M Varia, A Bestavros, F Jansen,
SecDev 2019.

Accessible Privacy-Preserving Web-Based Data Analysis for Assessing and Addressing Economic Inequalities,
A Lapets, F Jansen, KD Albab, R Issa, L Qin, M Varia, A Bestavros,
ACM SIGCAS 2018.

Scalable Secure Multi-Party Network Vulnerability Analysis via Symbolic Optimization,
K Dak Al Bab, R Issa, A Lapets, A Bestavros, N Volgushev,
WTMC 2017

Industry Work

SAIL at the Hariri Institute for Computing - Software Engineering Fellow (2017-2019).

UBILITE - Software Engineering (2015).


Talks

Privacy Enhancing Route Recommendation,
DIMACS/MACS, March 2019

Privacy Enhancing Route Recommendation,
MACS Project Meeting, December 2018

Managing Trust in the Cloud (with Kinan Bab),
American University of Beirut (AUB) first North American Computer Science Alumni Reunion,
Presentation available here


Teaching

CS591L1: Embeded Languages & Frameworks | Lecturer | with Kinan Bab, Fall 2019.

CS235: Algebraic Algorithms | Teaching Assistant | with Prof. Leonid Levin, Spring 2017.

Awards

Hariri Graduate Fellow (awarded in May 2016)

Creative Achievement Award for the Final Year Project.

Best Software Project Award For the Final Year Project.

AUB Dean's Honor List: Fall 2016.


Misc.



Last Updated: Spring 2020