2018-12-10 research

Research Talk @ IBM PL Day 2018

Today, I gave my first research talk outside of my department. It was a little nervewracking, especially since my slides kept changing until the day of and my advisor is on sabbatical in Seattle, but I think it went well. I presented on my current research, which is about the vulnerabilities of (Moss)[http://theory.stanford.edu/~aiken/moss/] and potential mitigations of said vulnerabilities. Moss is a tool for detecting similarity of software and is most commonly used in classrooms as a software plagiarism detector. It works quite well- I've caught a lot of plagiarism with it during my time as a TA- but the major issue is that it only performs static similarity detection and can therefore be easily fooled.

When I arrived to the IBM TJ Watson Research Center, it dawned on me that the first time I was ever there was in 2015 to attend orientation for my first internship in college, which was with IBM Research in Dublin. At that time, I didn't know much about research and wasn't planning on going to grad school at all. I'm not sure how I got the internship, considering I had no research experience and I imagine IBM Research doesn't hire many sophomore undergrads for research internships. Anyways, that internship (mainly my mentor that summer) is what initiated my interest in research and led me to applying to grad school in the first place. It was a nice full-circle day for me.

Another neat thing is that both my internship orientation and PL Day were both located in the same room as the Jeopardy! Watson challenges in 2011. Jeopardy! is one of my favorite shows, so it's super cool to be able to say that I've stood in the same spot as Alex Trebek once did.