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News Archive 2001 - 2010

UT Arlington Professor Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

February 1, 2008

University of Texas at Arlington Computer Science & Engineering Assistant Professor Nan Zhang has been awarded a CAREER Award by the National Science Foundations. CAREER grants are one of the NSF’s most prestigious awards, supporting early-career development activities by scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of this century.

Recipients of CAREER grants are selected based on creative proposals that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organizations. Dr. Zhang proposes to analyze, understand and optimize tradeoffs between privacy protection, data utility and system resources in privacy-preserving data mining.

Data mining has been successfully applied to support marketing, weather forecasting, medical diagnosis, homeland security and a host of other applications. Mining data without violating the privacy of data being mined, however, is still a critical challenge. For example, an ongoing problem in healthcare applications is how to mine patients’ personal information. Recent privacy legislation, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the public’s heightened concerns about privacy protection call for immediate and determined attention to the protection of private information in data mining.

This five-year, $440,000 CAREER grant will enable Dr. Zhang to establish a solid theoretical foundation that defines the requirements for privacy protection in data mining, identifies the domain of privacy-preserving strategies and determines the achievability of such strategies. This theoretical foundation will make possible the design and optimization of privacy-preserving data mining algorithms that are realistic, generic and efficient. In short, protecting privacy without impeding usefulness.

This is the fourth year in a row that a UT Arlington College of Engineering faculty member has been notified that they have received a prestigious CAREER award. Previous awardees were Materials Science & Engineering Professor Seong Jin Koh in 2005, Computer Science & Engineering Assistant Professor Jean Gao in 2006 and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Bumsoo Han in 2007.