“I did my PhD here and studied here and always liked being in Delft. So after doing a postdoc in Nijmegen I kind of came back to where I started. For five years now I’ve been an assistant professor in machine learning and cyber security.
I also recently got a VIDI grant. For the project I am working on now we essentially try to model software from data. This means that people build software systems and put them out there. There are always small issues that can be vulnerabilities that hackers abuse, or bugs that cause the system to malfunction. What we try to do is build specific algorithms that learn software models in such a way that we can locate these types of vulnerabilities and bugs, visualise them, fix them, and make the world a little bit safer.
When I got the VIDI grant it was an amazing feeling. It was a very long process getting there. I prepared for the interview, got training, and did like 10 trials. It is very complicated to tell your entire story in 10 minutes and then defend it in the next 15 minutes. You are just bombarded with questions. But I heard later that the interview went well and that I got ranked highly.
‘I love solving puzzles’
The grant is for five years and the end goal is basically to develop a piece of software that receives software logs as input and then gives you an overview of what the software is doing, how it is behaving. If you take several snapshots of the same piece of software, it will highlight differences in its behaviour. And by doing that you can find problems. If your software is updated, for instance, you can compare if it’s doing anything different now. If so, there’s probably a reason for it and if there isn’t, something is wrong.
I love solving puzzles, I like solving Rubik’s cubes, Pentominoes, playing chess, things like that. All of these techniques we work on have nice applications in cyber security or in software engineering, but in the end what it boils down to is just a puzzle on how to get knowledge from data. Unlike Rubik’s cubes though, solving these puzzles can solve real problems in our society. In my spare time, I teach kids from the local chess club, including my own, the basics of puzzle solving in chess.”
Who are the people who work and study on campus? We meet them in Humans of TU Delft. Do you want to be featured in this series? Or do you know someone with a good story to tell? Send us an e-mail at email@example.com