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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Privacy-Preserving Genome Computing Through Program Specialization

Xiaofeng Wang - Indiana University

Apr 29, 2009


In this talk, I present a new approach to performing important classes of genomic computations (e.g., search for homologous genes) that makes a significant step towards privacy protection in this domain. Our approach leverages a key property of the human genome, namely that the vast majority of it is shared across humans (and hence public), and consequently relatively little of it is sensitive. Based on this observation, we propose a privacy-protection framework that partitions a genomic computation, distributing the part on sensitive data to the data provider and the part on the pubic data to the user of the data. Such a partition is achieved through program specialization that enables a biocomputing program to perform a concrete execution on public data and a symbolic execution on sensitive data. As a result, the program is simplified into an efficient query program that takes only sensitive genetic data as inputs. We prove the effectiveness of our techniques on a set of dynamic programming algorithms fundamental to genomic computing. We developed a program transformation tool that automatically instruments a legacy program for specialization operations. We also demonstrate that our techniques can greatly facilitate secure multi-party computations on large biocomputing problems.

About the Speaker

XiaoFeng Wang is an assistant professor in the school of informatics at Indiana University at Bloomington. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004.
His research interests span all areas of computer and communication security. Particularly, he is carrying out active research on system and network security (including automatic program analysis, malware detection and containment, countermeasures to denial of service attacks), privacy-preserving techniques and their application to critical information systems (such as health information systems), and incentive engineering in information security. His publications regularly appear in the mainstream venues in system and network security. He also serves on various conference committees in the area.

Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52, West Lafayette Campus. More information...


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