The graduate program of the Department of Computer Science has received a donation from Cyral (https://www.cyral.com/), a software security company based on Silicon Valley. The donation will support the master student João Saffran for two years, working at DCC's Compilers Lab (http://lac.dcc.ufmg.br/). Fernando Pereira, who coordinates the Compilers Lab, believes that this donation is the beginning of a fruitful cooperation, which will bring together ideas for research projects more connected with the needs of the software industry. Also, this kind of partnership will give our students the opportunity to interact with a cutting-edge company.
Srinivas Vadlamani, CTO of Cyral, answers a few questions related to this cooperation.
[Q] Why is Cyral interested in fostering research in the Department of Computer Science of the Federal University of Minas Gerais?
- The initial interested was ignited by Manav Mital, who is the CEO of Cyral. He knew Fernando from his graduate days at UCLA. After talking to Fernando, we realized the potential of Brazilian students. We have interviewed a few students from UFMG since then. These guys have a very strong CS background, are creative and industrious. This cooperation will lets us get in touch with this crew, and with the professionals who work at the university. A connection with one of the largest Brazilian universities is on the best interests of Cyral.
[Q] How does the donation work? What are the requirements from Cyral?
- The donation is exactly this: a donation. There are no strong requirements attached to it. In practice, we kind of set up the general line of the research to be pursued. Students are free to publish their findings. Before publishing, they have to show us the result, though. This will not prevent publication, but will give us an edge over competing companies. The IT world is very competitive, and changes happen fast. Being able to look into some cutting-edge technology four or six months before it comes out is a big advantage to us. The student that we sponsor must send us regular reports on his or her project, so that we can be aware of what is being done.
[Q] And which kind of projects are you financing in the department?
- We are a software security company. So, we are interested in projects that can lead to technology that will protect data. Ideally, we would like to incorporate these technologies in our products. Students will not be developing this products, of course; rather, they will be exploring far fetched ideas, which we don't have the time or the man-power to explore ourselves. Student and their advisor are free to set up the research goal, as long as it is related to something that could be, even if indirectly, useful to us. Examples include technologies to reduce the cost of intervening on the runtime behavior of programs, or techniques to detect which kind of information software can leak.