Context. A word that is hard to define if we don’t know the “context” to which we are referring. Systems and interactions with such systems are more meaningful, useful, usable and efficient if context is considered as a core element in the system design. Context is also a very important aspect to consider in modern day computing, because of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices have ‘pervaded’ into our daily personal and work lives. It has reached a stage where we don’t consider them to be ‘assisting’ devices any more. They are usually a significant part of our lives. My research interests stem from the above factors, i.e. the need for us to adapt our interactions to the ubiquity of devices, the context of use, and the security/privacy issues resulting thereof.

I am interested in context-awareness, usability and privacy/security issues of mobile technology, and its application in pedagogy and IoT for social good. Specifically, I like to explore questions such as the following:

  • Pedagogy – Why do people use different strategies to learn? How can we help them learn more effectively?
  • Privacy/security – What can we do to ensure that users’ privacy is protected in their various daily interactions?
  • IoT for social good – How can we ensure the personal safety of users as they go about their daily activities?


Current Research
  • Active learning strategies and technological solutions to teaching & learning
    (People: R. V. Sampangi)
  • PRISM: Privacy, Security and Personal Safety with Mobile Technologies (September 2016 – Present)
    (People:R. V. Sampangi, K. Hawkey, M. Just [Heriot Watt University, UK], A. Willis [University of Edinburgh, UK], et al.)
  • Context-dependent and Usable Security and Privacy (February 2016 – Present)
    (People: R. V. Sampangi, K. Hawkey)
Prior Research
  • Postdoctoral research (2015-16)
    During May 2015 – August 2016, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University. My work was sponsored by Boeing.
    Research focus: Human aspect to security and privacy, particularly in applications employing IoT and mobile devices to create a ubiquitous and coordinated work environment.
    Supervisors: Dr. Derek Reilly and Dr. Srinivas Sampalli.
    Additionally, I worked with Dr. Kirstie Hawkey to explore using Micro Expressions as a possible supplement to Face Recognition. This project was the result of a personal interest towards understanding the working of the human mind, which in a way, led me to consider psychological/behavioural aspects that could make user interactions/reactions unique.
  • Doctoral Research: Biomimetic metamorphic framework for security in resource-constrained wireless networks (2011-2015)
    My thesis focused on Security (key management and authentication) and Applications in Emerging Wireless Technologies (with a specific focus on RFID and WBAN).
    My doctoral work involved creating a metamorphic (or, reconfigurable) security framework, which dynamically ‘switched’ between three new key management algorithms and encryption schemes proposed as part of my thesis work. The objective here was to create security solutions that seem complex to understand/crack, are simple to deploy, but offer security through obscurity. You can find more information about my PhD work here on this page.
    Thesis advisor: Dr. Srinivas Sampalli.
    My doctoral work was sponsored by Boeing, as part of a collaborative venture between The Boeing Company, and Dalhousie University [Click here for the related news item on the Boeing website].
  • Master’s thesis project: Security and reliability of wireless body area networks in remote monitoring of high-risk pregnancies. (2010-2011)
    There seems to be an unavoidable relationship between the lack of adequate medical facilities in rural India, and the risks due to any complications in pregnancies on the lives of the mother and the unborn fetus. My work focused on proposing an application to remotely monitor women with high-risk pregnancies, and to ensure reliable and secure communication between the WBAN sensors and the hospital monitoring station.
    Thesis advisors: Dr. Shalini R. Urs and Dr. Srinivas Sampalli.
  • The knowledge city index: A case study of Mysore. (2009-2011)
    Our objective in this project was to assess the attributes of a city, particularly those that have been classified as “Knowledge Cities” around the world, and to develop a framework that would help in assessing cities in developing economies such as India. Our initial work involved assessing the attributes of the Indian city of Mysore and positioning it as a knowledge city. Next, we proposed a framework to assess and position a city in developing economies as a knowledge city, with Mysore used as a case study.