Stony Brook University Logo Department of Computer Science Stony Brook Search Button
Secure Systems Lab

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am a prospective new student, trying to decide whether to join Secure Systems Lab ...

    Our Laboratory is is recognized as a leader in software security, and has carried out influential research on software exploit defenses (e.g., address-space randomization), intrusion detection, malicious code defense, and so on. It provides a nurturing and stimulating environment that enables Ph.D. students to publish widely in highly competitive forums.

    Students can tap into the expertise of over half-a-dozen security faculty at our Center for Cyber Security. The brand-new CEWIT building hosts specatacular new laboratory facilities ... (See here for the full details.)

  2. Are you accepting new Ph.D. students?

    We are always looking for new Ph.D. students. We currently have openings for several new students. Our RAs are paid well, and for dedicated students, continued support has never been a problem, as the laboratory is well-funded by a number of grants from the National Science Foundation and the DoD.

  3. What have students done after finishing at Secure Systems Lab?

    Our students have received faculty positions in reputed universities such as University of Illinois, University of Missouri, Texas A&M and National University of Singapore, and leading-edge companies such as Google, VMWare, Symantec Research, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon, and so on. Here is a page with the details on alumni placement.

  4. Can I get financial support? Do I have to start as a TA?

    Highly qualified Ph.D. applicants can get RA positions in the lab right from their first semester. After you have been admitted to the Ph.D. program, you can contact Prof. Sekar to explore this possibility

    RA positions are also available to new M.S. students. However, the most common model is that an M.S. student works in the lab for a semester before securing support. Exceptionally qualified M.S. students can get support from the beginning. If you consider yourself exceptionally qualified, contact Prof. Sekar after you have been admitted.

    Support to M.S. students is conditional upon a commitment to stay and work in the lab for a specific duration of time, which is typically two years. Students unwilling to make such a commitment should not ask for support.

  5. I am an applicant to the M.S. program. Can you tell me if I can work in Security Lab?

    We have several M.S. students, and many of them are supported. But support is available only for the best and most motivated students. If you want to know more about our research and RA opportunities, please look through these web pages. Use email only if you are convinced that you are exceptionally qualified, as other emails may not elicit a response due to the large number of such emails.

  6. Can I first enter the M.S. program and then subsequently move to the Ph.D. program?

    It is possible to get into the Ph.D. program from the M.S. program, but you should realize that the Ph.D. program is much more selective than the M.S. program. So, unless you are among the very top M.S. students, you may not be able to get into the Ph.D. program. Second, incoming M.S. students are not offered financial support by the department, whereas all Ph.D. students are admitted with full financial support. (However, your decision on which program to join should not be made on the basis of financial support. If you don't have the aptitude for a Ph.D., you will be wasting your time and that of others.)

    Discuss with your advisor if you are an M.S. student but is considering applying for the Ph.D. program. Your advisor can provide very valuable comments and insights.

  7. Can you describe the nature of your research?
    • Our research is focused on practical problems. It emphasizes building experimental systems and tools that can have an impact on real-world problems faced in the next 5 to 10 years.
    • A defining characteristic of our research is that both the problem and the approach must be interesting. We emphasize conceptual elegance, theoretical integrity, and practical simplicity.
    • While the above characteristics remain constant, there is significant diversity and variety in our research, thus catering to a wide range of students with interests in compilers, operating systems, algorithms, programming language and formal methods, and artifical intelligence.
  8. How can I learn more about your research?

    You can find more about our research at our research pages, although the best way to get an in-depth idea is by reading some of our papers. Find out more about our people and where our graduates went and what they accomplished at the lab.

  9. I am an M.S. student in the department, and would like to do a 523/524, 593 or 599 in Secure Systems Lab. How should I proceed?

    First, send an email to Prof. Sekar, including your resume and a short description of your projects and interests. If there is a match, then Prof. Sekar will contact you to schedule a meeting.

  10. What are the list of 523/524 projects that are currently available?

    There is no such list. Projects are created for each student, and this process needs to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The best way for you to get an idea of the kind of work that goes on in the lab is to read the research pages.

  11. What are my responsibilities as a student or an RA in the Lab?

    First, read the intranet web pages. In particular, there is a page that describes student responsibilities, while a second page provides recommendations and suggestions on how to be a successful researcher at the Lab.

  12. How do I get an account in the Lab?

    Full instructions for accessing the lab facilities is provided in the intranet pages. To access these pages, you will need to be inside the department (i.e., logged in on a department machine or plugged into the lab network). Then proceed to read this overview of lab facilities, and then proceed to the description for getting ssh access into the lab.

  13. How do I do X in the Lab?

    Read the intranet pages very carefully. They describe every thing related to the lab set up and operation in detail.

  14. How do I protect my data? Is my data being backed up?

    Project related data (including source code and documentation) should be maintained in the lab svn repository as described here. Please read the entire page of instructions regarding SVN setup.

    To protect any other important data on your laptop or personal workstation, use rsync to mirror it on the lab servers. See the description regarding data backup on the lab intranet.

    Note that data stored on lab servers is backed up regularly as described here. When fully operational, we will have some form of versioned backup for the last several days, plus long term backups provided by the CS department staff. (Only the latter is currently available.)

Home Contact NSI Computer Science Stony Brook University

Copyright © 1999-2013 Secure Systems Laboratory, Stony Brook University. All rights reserved.