Ben Y. Zhao


ravenben+www at cs dot uchicago dot edu
Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Linkedin.

News in Last 12 Months

Nov 2019: Distinguished lecture at KAUST

Oct 2019: Huiying gives first talk @CCS!

Oct 2019: Huiying & Emily roadtrip

w/ talk @ Stanford & visit to Berkeley!

Sept 2019: Distinguished lecture at EPFL

Aug 2019: NDSS paper on adversarial sensing

Congrats to Yanzi, Zhujun, Yuxin, Zhijing and Max!

Aug 2019: DARPA grant on evaluating adversarial ML attacks

Aug 2019: NSF grant on spectrum anomaly detection

New project led by Heather

July 2019: Congrats to Dr. Yanzi Zhu

Off to join the AR/VR team at Google. Good luck!

July 2019: Latent backdoor paper at CCS

Congrats Kevin and Huiying!

July 2019: interview for CNBC

Article on AI/ML and fake news

June 2019: Senior TPC, WSDM 2019

June 2019: Congrats to our new PhDs

Xinyi Zhang, Shiliang Tang, and Zhijing Li! Good luck at Facebook!

June 2019: Gave fun talk to Chicago Bar Association

on advances in ML & implications on the law

May 2019: Article in UChicago Magazine

on online privacy & our research

May 2019: UChicago news about our backdoor work

May 2019: Congrats to Xinyi

for her SIGCOMM paper on network management!

Apr 2019: Congrats to Gang Wang

SAND Lab alumnus who just joined UIUC CS as Assistant Professor!

Mar 2019: Congrats to Zhijing, Zhujun

on their MobiHoc paper

Feb 2019: Congrats to SAND Lab alumnus Prof. Christo Wilson, Sloan Fellow 2019!!

Feb 2019: Recorded episode on UChicago Big Brains Podcast

Feb 2019: IMC 2019 TPC

Jan 2019: USENIX Security & AI Networking Conference (ScAINet) TPC

Dec 2018: SAND Lab gets new logo!


Dec 2018: Bolun defends his PhD!

We'll miss you, good luck!

Nov 2018: Oakland 2019 paper

on detecting/reverse engineering and cleaning backdoors in DNNs

Nov 2018: NSDI 2020 TPC (heavy)

Oct 2018: SIGCOMM 2019 TPC (heavy)


Clickstream modeling code here
Measurement-calibrated graphs here
Embedding graph coordinate systems here

Contact info

Lab: 377 Crerar
Office: 369 Crerar
5730 S. Ellis Ave,
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637

Travel/Deadlines (UChicago Calendar)

Nov 25, KAUST, S.A.
April 23, 2020: WWW FWeb talk, Taiwan
CFP: IEEE S&P, 1st of every month

Other Stuff

Google Scholar (~27,000), H-index: 64
Erdos # = 3 (Erdos-M. Saks-K. Hildrum-B. Y. Zhao)
This page, circa 2011

I am a Neubauer Professor of Computer Science at University of Chicago. Over the years, I've followed my own interests in pursuing research problems that I find intellectually interesting and meaningful. That's led me to work on a sequence of areas from P2P networks, online social networks, SDR/open spectrum systems, graph mining and modeling, user behavior analysis, to adversarial machine learning. Since 2016, I've mostly worked on security and privacy problems in machine learning and mobile systems. My meandering interests have led me to publish at a range of top conferences, including Usenix Security/Oakland/CCS, IMC/WWW, CHI/CSCW, and Mobicom/SIGCOMM/NSDI. Here's a wordle of my paper abstracts from 2017-2019.

Together with Prof. Heather Zheng, I co-direct the SAND Lab (Systems, Algorithms, Networking and Data) at University of Chicago. I received my PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2004, where I was advised by John Kubiatowicz and Anthony Joseph, and created the Tapestry distributed hash table (dissertation). I received my MS from Berkeley in 2000, and my BS in computer science from Yale in 1997. I am an ACM Distinguished Scientist, a recipient of the NSF CAREER award (2005), MIT Tech Review's TR-35 Award (Young Innovators Under 35) (2006), IEEE Internet Technical Committee's Early Career Award (2014), and one of ComputerWorld's Top 40 Technology Innovators under 40. My papers have somewhere around 27,000 citations and an H-index of 64 (for whatever that's worth). In some of my "free time," I write about research and PhD life on Quora.

Fall 2019: Tu/Th 9:30-10:50AM, RY 277, CS333 Graduate Computer Networking (Prereq: CMSC 233)
This is a course on computer networking specifically designed for graduate students. The course focuses heavily on research methods, and readings focus on technical publications. Undergraduates interested in learning about networking should only take CS333 if they have already completed CS233 or similar as a prerequisite.
Fall 2019: M/W 1:30-2:50PM, RY 255, CS301 (Technical Writing and Presentations)
Clear, logical writing and presentations are foundational skills for computer scientists. This class is meant to introduce computer science students to basic ideas and techniques for effective communication in both writing and presentations. The class will include several complementary components, including critical analysis of technical papers, weekly writing assignments focusing on writing style, clarity, and logical flow, and discussions of style for different research areas and venues. New: Later weeks will include broader topics on effective research techniques across the PhD process. The course is primarily targeted towards graduates students, although undergraduates can audit the class (or enroll with permission from the instructor). No prerequisites.

Press/Media: A collection of recent news and media coverage of our research.

I'm always looking for bright PhD students!!
I'm always interested in self-driven/passionate students who want to work on high impact projects and have fun doing it. UChicago is a fantastic place to do a PhD, and we're constantly making improvements to the lab and the department. To find out a bit more about me as an advisor, and my views on everything from students to research and the meaning of life, you can read some of my posts on Quora, where I've been "Top Writer" since 2014. To get on a short list of names Heather and I will look for when reviewing applications, please fill out a basic form. This is better than email. I read all my emails. But due to the volume of emails, I am often unable to reply to individual emails.

UChicago Undergraduates interested in research?
We generally advise 3-5 undergraduates in my lab in active research (we have room for a couple more in 2019). If you're interested in working in my lab as an undergrad, drop by my lab at 377 Crerar and we'll talk! Generally speaking, the best way to join my lab as an undergrad is to take and do well in my courses in networking or applied ML.