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Computer Science Alumnus Scott Ruoti Receives Award

Scott Ruoti (PhD, 2016) was selected as a co-recipient of the 2017 John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award, which honors top students in the field of usable privacy and security. The award is based on research quality, mentoring, and citizenship.

“Scott is very deserving of this award,” said Kent Seamons, faculty advisor. “He was instrumental in moving our research lab to the forefront of usable security research. He published twelve papers that involved fourteen other PhD, MS, and undergraduate students in the lab, mentoring many of them in their first publishing experience.”

Ruoti’s research focused on designing security systems that are easy-to-use, especially for novice users. He designed a secure email system that received the highest usability score for similar tools studied in the lab, ranking in the top 15% among the hundreds of software systems subjected to a standard usability test. His design reduced user errors from 25% to 2%, and increased user understanding and trust in the system. His MessageGuard encryption framework makes it easier for researchers to prototype new system designs and measure usability properties.

Ruoti was the lead author of a paper receiving an Honorable Mention Award given to only 4% of the papers submitted to CHI, the top conference in human-computer interaction.

Ruoti completed internships at Google, Microsoft Research, Sandia National Labs, and Blue Coat Systems while at BYU. Ruoti is an expert at speaking and writing Chinese, and he participated in the BYU Flagship Program. He also won the CPMS 2016 3MT (3-minute thesis) competition.

Faculty advisor Kent Seamons mentored Ruoti and colleague Daniel Zappala collaborated with him.

Ruoti is now a Research Scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory pursuing research in cybersecurity architectures, usable security, and blockchain technology. He and his wife Emily and their two daughters reside in the Boston area. In the fall, Scott will be joining the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee Knoxville as an Assistant Professor.

By Phyllis Rosen Posted on