Lecturer Biographies

Mariya TonevaMariya Toneva is joining the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems as a tenure-track faculty starting in September 2022. Her research is at the intersection of Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Neuroscience. She works on bridging language in machines with language in the brain, with a focus on building computational models of language processing in the brain that can also improve natural language processing systems. Prior to joining MPI-SWS, she is conducting research as a C.V. Starr Fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. She received her Ph.D. in a joint program between Machine Learning and Neural Computation from Carnegie Mellon University.


Soheil Feizi is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Before joining UMD, he was a post-doctoral research scholar at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in EECS with a minor degree in mathematics. He has received the ONR’s Young Investigator Award in 2022, and an NSF CAREER award in 2020. He is the recipient of several other awards including two best paper awards, a teaching award and multiple faculty awards from industry such as IBM, AWS and Qualcomm. He received the Ernst Guillemin award for his M.Sc. thesis, as well as the Jacobs Presidential Fellowship and the EECS Great Educators Fellowship at MIT.


Robbert van Renesse is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is a member of the Systems and Networking group. He is interested in distributed systems, particularly in their fault tolerance and scalability aspects.





Viktor Vafeiadis is a tenured researcher at MPI-SWS, working in the area of programming languages and verification. He got his BA (2004) and PhD (2008) from the University of Cambridge, worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research and at the University of Cambridge, and joined MPI-SWS in October 2010.



Thomas Ristenpart is an Associate Professor at Cornell Tech and the Department of Computer Science, Cornell University. His research is in computer security, with recent topics including cloud computing security, applied and theoretical cryptography, and privacy.



Emma Pierson is an assistant professor of computer science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and the Technion, and a computer science field member at Cornell University. She holds a secondary joint appointment as an Assistant Professor of Population Health Sciences at Weill Cornell Medical College. She develops data science and machine learning methods to study inequality and healthcare. Her work has been recognized by best paper, poster, and talk awards, a Rhodes Scholarship, Hertz Fellowship, Rising Star in EECS, MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, and Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science. Her research has been published at venues including ICML, AISTATS, KDD, WWW, CSCW, Nature, and Nature Medicine, and she has also written for The New York Times, FiveThirtyEight, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Wired, and various other publications.

Asia Biega is a tenure-track faculty member (W2) at the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy (MPI-SP) leading the Responsible Computing group. Through interdisciplinary collaborations, she designs legally, ethically, and socially responsible information and social computing systems and studies how they interact with and influence their users. She has published her work in leading information retrieval, Web, and data mining venues, and has been serving on the program committees of conferences such as SIGIR, WSDM, KDD, AAAI, and FAT*/FAccT. She has co-organized the NIST TREC Fair Ranking track, and a FAT* panel on technology refusal. Beyond academia, her perspectives and methodological approaches are informed by an industrial experience, including work on privacy infrastructure at Google and consulting for Microsoft product teams on issues related to FATE and privacy. Asia completed her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems.

Amol Deshpande is a professor in the Computer Science department at University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). His research spans a spectrum of topics in “big data”, including database query optimization, privacy adaptive query processing, cloud computing, sensor network data management, uncertain data management, and graph databases.



Christof PaarChristof Paar is a founding director at MPI-SP in Bochum, Germany, and research professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research lies in the area of embedded security. His group is currently working on hardware Trojans, technical and cognitive aspects of (hardware) reverse engineering, physical layer security and the security of real-world systems. He is one of the spokespersons of the Excellence Cluster CASA – Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries.

Christof has given invited talks at Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Stanford and Yale. He is co-author of the textbook “Understanding Cryptography”.