Bimal Viswanath has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. He is one of 28 new faculty members hired by the college for the 2018-19 academic year.

Viswanath’s research interests broadly cover security and privacy aspects of data-driven systems. He currently works on topics at the intersection of security and machine learning. This includes building robust machine learning systems in an adversarial environment and exploring risks posed by misuse of machine learning in different application scenarios.

His recent work has focused on attacks that leverage deep learning models to generate fake reviews targeting popular online review systems, such as Yelp.

Prior to Viswanath’s appointment at Virginia Tech, he was a researcher at Nokia Bell Labs in Stuttgart, Germany, where he focused on cloud computing and data analytics. He’s also held a post-doctoral position at UC-Santa Barbara and spent time at the University of Chicago as an external post-doctoral researcher.

Viswanath obtained his doctoral degree from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Saarbrucken, Germany, in computer science; his master’s from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, India; and a bachelor’s from Cochin University of Science and Technology, both in computer science and engineering.

He received the Best Paper Award for the Association of Computing Machinery Conference on Online Social Networks in 2015, and a Distinguished Paper Award at the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security in 2014. His work has also received popular press coverage by outlets such as Scientific American, Business Insider, Forbes, and New Republic.  

Written by Amy Loeffler