Illinois CS Adds Four New Faculty, Expertise in Security & Privacy, Formal Methods, Quantum, and Wireless Systems

9/28/2021 9:56:48 AM

Three new faculty have joined the ranks of Illinois Computer Science’s talented researchers and educators, with a fourth scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2023. 

The new arrivals add expertise in security and privacy, formal methods, quantum computing, and wireless sensing and networking, adding to the department’s incredible depth and breadth in CS research and education.

Since January 2020, Illinois CS has welcomed the arrival of 28 new faculty, including the four announced this fall.

Assistant Professor Camille Cobb

Camille Cobb
Camille Cobb

Camille Cobb is researching usable security and privacy. She believes that understanding how new technologies affect people is an important step toward reshaping technology designs to better support all users, advocating for policies that discourage exploitation, and educating users on potential risks and their mitigations. Through her work, she seeks to include perspectives that have been historically left out of discussions about security and privacy.

Cobb earned a PhD in 2019 from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where she held an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and was advised by Yoshi Kohno and Alexis Hiniker. Subsequently, she joined Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute as a postdoctoral researcher.

At Illinois, Cobb is teaching CS 598CAC, “Inclusive Cybersecurity and Privacy,” a course that explores the security and privacy needs of minority and vulnerable populations.

Assistant Professor Talia Ringer

Talia Ringer
Talia Ringer

Through her research, Talia Ringer is exploring how to build proof engineering technologies to make it easier to develop formally verified software systems. To that end, she develops foundational results in dependent type theory, and uses those results to drive the development of tools informed by the needs of real proof engineers. Her vision is a future of verification that is accessible to all programmers with the help of these tools.

Prior to joining Illinois, Ringer completed a PhD under the mentorship of Dan Grossman at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, she was recognized with several additional honors, including P.E.O. Scholar and Rising Stars in EECS 2019. Prior to graduate school, she worked in industry for three years as a software engineer at Amazon, helping to launch Amazon Business.

Ringer is founder and chair of the SIGPLAN Long-Term Mentoring Committee, and she is active in diversity, service, and outreach. In the spring, she is planning to teach CS 598,"Proof Automation," which will explore all kinds of techniques for automating formal proofs about software systems.

Assistant Professor Makrand Sinha

Makrand Sinha
Makrand Sinha

Makrand Sinha’s primary research interests are focused on the foundations of quantum and classical computation and optimization. More specifically, he seeks to understand the relative power of quantum vs classical algorithms and communication protocols, understand limitations of various approaches in optimization such as linear or semidefinite programs, and design algorithms for various optimization problems.

Sinha received a PhD in 2018 from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he was guided by Anup Rao and supported by a Computer Science and Engineering Research Fellowship. Subsequently, he completed an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands, where he was a member of the Networks and Optimization group. Prior to his PhD studies, Sinha completed a master’s degree at ETH Zürich, advised by Thomas Holenstein.

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the prestigious Simons Institute at University of California, Berkeley, Sinha will join the Illinois CS faculty in August 2023.

Assistant Professor Elahe Soltanaghai

Elahe Soltanaghai
Elahe Soltanaghai

With interests that span wireless sensing and networking, cyber-physical systems, and Internet of Things, Elahe Soltanaghai is seeking to create the next generation of intelligent wireless systems that are faster, more energy efficient, pervasive, and able to sense the physical environment.

Prior to joining Illinois, Soltanaghai was a postdoctoral researcher with Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab, working with Anthony Rowe. She completed her PhD at the University of Virginia, advised by Kamin Whitehouse, and her thesis was recognized as a Runner Up for ACM SIGMOBILE’s Dissertation Award. Her accolades also include selection as 1 of 10 Rising Stars in Computer Networking and Communications in 2021 by N2Women, Rising Stars in EECS 2019, N2Women Young Research Fellowship in 2016, and 2nd place in the ACM Student Research Competition at MobiCom 2017.

At Illinois, Soltanaghai seeks to build a foundation for joint communication and sensing in wireless embedded systems of the future by applying signal processing and machine learning techniques to low-level RF signals.

Soltanaghai’s previous teaching experiences include co-instructing ECE 648, “Embedded Real-Time Systems,” at CMU, and CS 4902, “IoT - Intelligent Connected Systems,” at UVA. She plans on teaching courses in computer networks and embedded systems at both the graduate and undergraduate level.