Carnegie Mellon University
March 04, 2016

Agarwal and Kolter Receive Google Research Awards

By Josh Quicksall

Institute for Software Research faculty members, Zico Kolter and Yuvraj Agarwal, are among 15 Carnegie Mellon University faculty members to receive the prestigious Fall 2015 Google Faculty Research Awards to support faculty undertaking work of mutual interest between the researchers and Google.

Established by Google to “identify and support world-class, permanent faculty pursuing cutting-edge research in areas of mutual interest”, the highly-coveted unrestricted gifts provide funding to support researchers in any one of 17 fields, ranging from computational neuroscience to software engineering.

Agarwal, an Assistant Professor in ISR and Director of the Synergy Lab in the School of Computer Science, will be putting his award to use exploring methods to extract the underlying purpose of access permission requests made by mobile applications. Alongside his co-recipient - Associate Professor, Jason Hong - Agarwal hopes that this research will empower users to make better informed decisions regarding their privacy and data. Eventually, Hong and Agarwal plan to integrate this functionality into another of Agarwal’s projects, his ProtectMyPrivacy app.

While both researchers are undoubtedly excited and humbled by the award, Agarwal finds this acknowledgement by Google particularly energizing. “This award is recognition that the work we doing to protect smartphone privacy is important to one of the most influential players in the field, Google. What is most exciting is that we will be able to continue in-depth discussions with the Android team, perhaps even helping to guide their decisions regarding privacy in the future.”