Stephen Chong named 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow

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Stephen Chong, associate professor of computer science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been named a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

He is among 126 fellows, including six others at Harvard, selected from the United States and Canada this year on the basis of their “independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become leaders in the scientific community through their contributions to their field.”

The $50,000 award will support Chong’s research in the field of language-based information security.

The goal of his research program is to develop tools and techniques that ensure applications handle sensitive information securely. This is challenging, in part because different applications may have very different requirements for handling sensitive information.

“What does it mean for a program to be secure, to handle information in the right way?” he asks. The answer, he explains, very much depends on the program in question. Moreover, this problem won’t be solved simply by building better firewalls or preventing the spread of viruses and other malware. “Even assuming computer systems are safe, how do we make sure that the applications themselves are doing what they’re supposed to?” he asks.

Chong aims to combine mathematics and engineering to create intuitive, meaningful, and efficient software tools to probe these questions.