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I have always been provided with a great learning environment; PhD SoP

fams 3 / 9  
Mar 28, 2013   #1
Hello everybody,

I am almost ready to apply for a PhD. The only thing that's missing... my statement of purpose.
In the past week I have struggled to summarize my research interests. Here's what I've got.
Please let me know what you think.

Thanks for your help.


Dear Members of the Admission Committee,

I have always been provided with a great learning environment. Encouraged and guided by my parents - both professors of Mathematics - I focused on topics that I enjoyed the most. Playing the piano, exploring algorithms and tutoring other students, all fit into my regular week and provide me with great contentment. My progress is driven by enthusiasm, the same enthusiasm that brought me to AAA for a Master program in Computer Science at the XXX.

I aim to pursue a career in research and for this end I wish to take the next step, namely pursue a Ph.D. at an outstanding university. After two years in XXX, I am certain that this university offers the perfect framework for my development. Its broad knowledge base, dedicated professors and enthusiastic young researchers are indeed a strong incentive to find novelty.

My research interests are reflected by the wide variety of projects and classes followed thus far. I have started with a more theoretical approach to Computer Science during my Bachelor studies at the UUU. My main focus was on topics such as cryptography, algorithms and data structures, program semantics and genetic programming, the latter being the subject of my Bachelor Thesis.

For my Master studies, I have turned to a more practical perspective. This shift was challenging and required significant effort since I had to follow, in addition to the program's mandatory classes, few Bachelor courses in order to improve my knowledge on topics such as Computer Architecture or Information Theory.

A significant part of my curriculum is focused on Information Security. Apart from relevant courses - Advanced Cryptography, Algorithms in Public Key Cryptography or IT Security Engineering - I have also been involved in several related research projects.

Currently I am working on my Master Thesis within the Laboratory YYY supervised by Professor YYY. The project aims to investigate the security of a lattice-based cryptographic primitive that resembles the properties of multilinear maps. My task is to first provide a much more thorough mathematical description (theorems and proofs that are incomplete or missing) and then study if it may or may not be used in practice for applications such as key exchange protocols, broadcast encryption or non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs.

Last semester I have carried out another project supervised by Professor YYY that was related to the elliptic curve factorization method. My task was to reduce the number of arithmetic operations required to compute multiples of arbitrary points on the elliptic curve. Although my results were of the same magnitude as the ones found by Dr, HHH, we believe that the algorithm is promising and thus I am further pursuing it, in parallel with my Master Thesis.

Prior to joining YYY, I have worked on a project within the Laboratory ZZZ, supervised by Professor ZZZ. My tasks were to sketch and implement a solution to perform incremental backup. The application emphasizes on authentication and encryption, as the backup data is stored on a remote machine (e.g. a cloud). The main functionality is mirroring data in a deterministic way, ensuring the incremental characteristic of the design. To achieve privacy, I have implemented a hybrid encryption scheme, with a symmetric cipher for encrypting data and a public key cipher for exchanging the symmetric key. This way, the symmetric key can be safely stored on the remote machine and retrieved every time a data restore operation is required.

In addition, this semester I am a Teaching Assistant for two courses: ZZZ (DS) and ZZZ (TCS). My responsibilities for DS include tutoring students and providing administrative support, while my tasks for TCS comprise grading and coaching students for exams.

Alongside my education, I have had the opportunity to gain relevant industry experience in the field working for TTT, one of the world's leading security solutions providers. In this company I was a member of the Research and Development Department where I took part in two major projects: develop a security solution for virtual environments (SVE) with a client-server architecture, and implement a secondary SSL certificates validation mechanism (CVM).

My main contribution within the SVE project was to minimize network traffic between a client which requested virus scans and a scanning server. To this end, I first empirically established which parts of a file are relevant to the scanning process, and then constructed a two-layered cache to avoid redundancies: the first layer (client-based) stored scan results for local file fragments, while the second layer (server-based) aggregated scan results to exploit file similarities across machines. After one year of maintenance, our solution was acquired by VMware Inc.

The CVM project was driven by the lack of a global certificate validation enforcement policy. To achieve its purpose, the application captures all incoming TCP traffic, performs stream reconstruction and listens on the ports which started TLS/SSL sessions. When a certificate arrives, it is extracted and securely sent to a central storage server for validation. If the certificate is already stored, only few checksums are verified; if not, the whole certificate chain is validated.

All these experiences have driven my passion for research and pushed me to gradually further my knowledge. Therefore, my enthusiasm is my commitment to succeed. I believe that the numerous projects, classes and workplace tasks that I have met, shape me as a suitable candidate for the Doctoral School of Computer Science at the XXX.

Sincerely yours,
amberlesak - / 4 2  
Apr 1, 2013   #2
I like it! I'm not really into all this science stuff but my sister is and you remind me of her lol :) She is working on her Master Thesis too! Well, back on track.. did you ever add your statement of purpose? Without it I feel I can't fully review this letter. I think this letter is written very well and it's obvious you are very educated. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling is perfect (and I am a stickler about grammar!) and the vocabulary is at a very high level! I'm very impressed :)
OP fams 3 / 9  
Apr 3, 2013   #3
Thanks! I have shortened it a little bit before sending.
amberlesak - / 4 2  
Apr 3, 2013   #4
Oh okay :) Did you add your statement of purpose? haha

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