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CICS Doctoral Student Milad Nasr Awarded Google PhD Fellowship

Milad Nasr
Milad Nasr

UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) doctoral student Milad Nasr has recently been granted a Google PhD Fellowship in recognition of his promising research on circumventing internet censorship.

Nasr's research focuses primarily on three main areas: internet censorship, traffic analysis and privacy in machine learning. He is currently working to create tools to circumvent internet censorship, conducting research in tracking the traffic of "cybercriminals," and designing methods to measure and reduce privacy leakages.

"I believe research on censorship circumvention is one of the most influential topics since it affects billions of internet users," says Nasr. "However, existing tools have failed to provide reliable service to censored users. It is worth mentioning that censorship circumvention is an interdisciplinary problem and requires different knowledge in security, cryptography, and networking in addition to the social sciences, public policy, and political sciences. As a result, censorship circumvention has become an important, complex and difficult research topic."

The Google PhD Fellowship Program was created in 2009 in an effort to "recognize and support outstanding graduate students doing exceptional research in computer science and related disciplines." The 2-year fellowship covers tuition and provides a stipend for living expenses, travel, and computing equipment, as well as access to a Google Research Mentor.

"These awards have been presented to exemplary PhD students in computer science and related disciplines...and acknowledge their contributions to their areas of specialty and provide funding for their education and research," says Susie Kim, program manager of Google Academic Relations. "We look forward to working closely with them as they continue to become leaders in their respective fields."

Nasr began his MS/PhD program in the fall of 2015 and completed his MS degree in the fall of 2017. He is currently a member of the Secure, Private Internet (SPIN) group under the supervision of CICS Assistant Professor Amir Houmansadr. He received a BS in computer engineering from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran.