Abstract: Private information retrieval (PIR) is a canonical problem to study the privacy of users as they download content from publicly accessible databases. In PIR, a user (retriever) wishes to download data from one or more databases in such a way that no individual database can tell which data has been retrieved. PIR has originated in the computer science literature, and has recently been revisited by the information theory community. The information-theoretic re-formulation of the problem aims at determining the fundamental limits of the PIR problem, i.e., what is the largest number of bits that can be retrieved privately per bit of download, or equivalently, what is the minimum number of downloads needed per bit of private retrieval? This new information-theoretic approach also proposes novel PIR schemes which achieve or approach these fundamental limits. In this talk, I will describe the problem, summarize several break-through results in the history of this problem, and present some of the recent advances in this field. (This is joint work with Karim Banawan and Yi-Peng Wei.)
Biography: Sennur Ulukus is the Anthony Ephremides Professor in Information Sciences and Systems in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she also holds a joint appointment with the Institute for Systems Research (ISR). Prior to joining UMD, she was a Senior Technical Staff Member at AT&T Labs-Research. She received her Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB), Rutgers University, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University. Her research interests are in communication theory, information theory, networks and signal processing, with recent focus on private information retrieval, age of information, energy harvesting communications, physical layer security, and wireless energy and information transfer.
Dr. Ulukus is a fellow of the IEEE, and a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher of the University of Maryland. She received the 2003 IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award in Wireless Communications, an 2005 NSF CAREER Award, the 2010-2011 ISR Outstanding Systems Engineering Faculty Award, and the 2012 ECE George Corcoran Education Award. She is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Infomation Theory Society for 2018-2019. She is on the Editorial Board of the IEEE Transactions on Green Communications and Networking since 2016. She was an Editor for the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications–Series on Green Communications and Networking (2015-2016), IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2007-2010), and IEEE Transactions on Communications (2003-2007). She was a Guest Editor for the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (2015 and 2008), Journal of Communications and Networks (2012), and IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2011). She is a TPC co-chair of 2019 ITW, 2017 IEEE ISIT, 2016 IEEE Globecom, 2014 IEEE PIMRC, and 2011 IEEE CTW.