Published April 4, 2017
by Christian Miller
Zhan Qin will join the University of Texas at San Antonio Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2017. At UTSA, he'll continue his work in data privacy and data computation security.
In his five years at UB, Zhan published at leading conferences including the ACM Conference on Computer and Communication Security (ACM CCS) and the ACM Multimedia Conference (ACM MM). The work that he published at ACM CCS'16, "Heavy Hitter Estimation over Set-valued Data with Local Differential Privacy", also won the CSE Best Graduate Student Research Award in 2016.
"My research area is data privacy," he said. "Cloud-based, user data privacy. In the real world, big companies are collecting your data every day with permission hiding in a long 'terms of service' contract. For them, compromised privacy is a big potential data risk breach. Someday there might be a breach like what happened in Sony or other incidents happening in the last few years. These companies hold such data but can utlilize only a very little portion of them. Minimize risk, find that value in them. Privacy-preserving data mining. Find some valuable, meaningful info from data where user's privacy is protected."
Zhan, a native of Beijing, made his way to UB after earning a BS at the Beijing Institute of Technology and an MS at Columbia University. He was attracted to UB by the opportunity to work with Kui Ren, whom he describes as "a rising star in security."
"Zhan is very intelligent and persistent with his research," said Dr. Ren. "He has great potential to be very successful in his future academia career."
Zhan is excited about his upcoming move. "San Antonio has a pretty strong security group there," he said. "Ravi Sandhu (director of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security) is a big name in security area. I'm happy to join their team."
Still, he'll miss his friends and collaborators in Buffalo. "At UB, CSE faculty are pretty nice and friendly," he said. "Very diverse expertise. I cooperate on many different projects with different professors. It's really productive. The atmosphere among professors to cooperate on joint projects is really good. It leads to very many top-tier papers and works."