News 2017

Two new faculty to join MPI-SWS

June 2017
We are pleased to announce that two new faculty will join MPI-SWS.

Maria Christakis is joining us from the University of Kent, England, where she is a Lecturer at the School of Computing. Maria’s goal is to develop theoretical foundations and practical tools for building more reliable and usable software and increasing developer productivity. She is primarily interested in software engineering, programming languages, and formal methods. Maria joins the institute as a tenure-track faculty member, effective Oct 16, 2017. Maria was previously a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond. She received her Ph.D. from ETH Zurich and her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. Maria is the recipient of the ETH medal and the EAPLS Best PhD Dissertation Award.
Adish Singla is joining us from ETH Zurich, where he has completed his Ph.D. in computer science. His research focuses on designing new machine learning frameworks and developing algorithmic techniques, particularly for situations where people are an integral part of computational systems. Adish joins the institute as a tenure-track faculty member, effective Oct 1, 2017. Before starting his Ph.D., he worked as a Senior Development Lead in Bing Search for over three years. Adish received his Bachelor's degree from IIT Delhi and his Master's degree from EPFL. He is a recipient of the Facebook Fellowship in the area of Machine Learning, the Microsoft Research Tech Transfer Award, and the Microsoft Gold Star Award.

Peter Druschel wins EuroSys Lifetime Achievement Award

April 2017
Peter Druschel has received the 2017 EuroSys Lifetime Achievement Award for his numerous and valuable contributions to research in computer systems. It is the highest honor accorded by EuroSys to systems researchers.

Real-Time Systems group wins 3 best-paper awards in a row

April 2017
The MPI-SWS Real-Time Systems group, led by Björn Brandenburg, has won the best paper award at ECRTS’16, the best paper award at RTSS’16, and the best paper award at RTAS’17. These are the three main conferences in real-time systems.  This is the first time a group has won best paper awards in all three consecutive top real-time systems conferences. Congratulations to Björn and the postdocs and students in the real-time systems group!

Paul Francis to give keynote at Oakland '17 Workshop on Privacy Engineering

April 2017
Paul Francis will give the keynote address at the Oakland (IEEE S&P) Workshop on Privacy Engineering. The talk, entitled "The Diffix Framework: Revisiting Noise, Again", presents the first database anonymization system that exhibits low noise, unlimited queries, simple configuration, and rich query semantics while still giving strong anonymity.

The workshop will be held May 25 in San Jose, CA.

Talk Abstract:

For over 40 years, the holy grail of database anonymization is a system that allows a wide variety of statistical queries with minimal answer distortion, places no limits on the number of queries, is easy to configure, and gives strong protection of individual user data.  This keynote presents Diffix, a database anonymization system that promises to finally bring us within reach of that goal.  Diffix adds noise to query responses, but "fixes" the noise to the response so that repeated instances of the same response produce the same noise.  While this addresses the problem of averaging attacks, it opens the system to "difference attacks" which can reveal individual user data merely through the fact that two responses differ.  Diffix proactively examines queries and responses to defend against difference attacks.  This talk presents the design of Diffix, gives a demo of a commercial-quality implementation, and discusses shortcomings and next steps.

Girls' Day 2017

March 2017
MPI-INF and MPI-SWS jointly participated in Girl's Day this year.

The Max Planck Institutes for Informatics and Software Systems pursue basic research in many areas of computer science. But what exactly is computer science? And what does a day in the life of a scientist look like in computer science? We addressed these questions by way of hands-on examples and demonstrated, for instance, how a computer learns, how the car navigation system knows how to get from A to B, and also how one doesn’t always need a computer for doing computer science. Along the way, the school girls were able to ask our students and researchers all sorts of questions about what it is like to work in research.


Die Max-Planck Institute für Informatik und Software Systeme betreiben Grundlagenforschung in vielen Bereichen der Informatik. Aber was genau ist Informatik? Und wie sieht ein Tag im Leben einer Wissenschaftlerin in der Informatik aus? Genau dies haben wir anhand von Beispielen zum Anfassen und Ausprobieren gezeigt und dabei z.B. illustriert, wie ein Computer lernt, wie das Navi weiß wie man von A nach B kommt, und auch dass man für Informatik nicht immer einen Computer braucht. Nebenbei hatten die Schülerinnen die Gelegenheit unseren StudentInnen, DoktorandInnen und WissenschaftlerInnen allerlei Fragen zu stellen, wie es denn ist in der Forschung zu arbeiten.

A week-long school for outstanding undergrad/MS students curious about research in computing. Apply by Feb 7!

January 2017
Outstanding undergraduate and Masters students are invited to learn about world-class research in security and privacy, social systems, distributed systems, machine learning, programming languages, and verification. Leading researchers will engage with attendees in their areas of expertise: the curriculum will include lectures, projects, and interaction with faculty from participating institutions.

Attendees will be exposed to state-of-the-art research in computer science, have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with internationally leading scientists from three of the foremost academic institutions in research and higher learning in the US and in Europe, and network with like-minded students. They will get a sense of what it is like to pursue an academic or industrial research career in computer science and have a head start when applying for graduate school.

Applications are due by February 7, 2017. Travel and accommodation will be covered for accepted students.

More info can be found on the CMMRS website.