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Published: 2020-05-08

New professor in AI and privacy

NEWS Vicenç Torra is a new professor at the department of Computing Science at Umeå University. One of his research fields is data privacy.

Text: Mikael Hansson

In Umeå Vicenç Torra will start a new research group, The Privacy-aware transparency decisions research group, that will conduct research in data privacy and will develop machine learning algorithms that build data-driven models avoiding disclosure of private information and that are resistant to different types of attacks.
It is well known that data can be highly sensitive, and that naive anonymization is not sufficient to avoid disclosure. Models and aggregates can also lead to disclosure as they can contain traces of the data used in their computation. 

The research group will be a part of the growing AI research field at Umeå University and will implement solutions for privacy-aware AI systems, and develop algorithms and software for this purpose. In 2020 four PhD students and two postdoc researchers will be hired to the group, and the plan for the next year involves two more PhD students. 

The project is part of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), Sweden’s largest individual research program ever, a major national initiative for strategically motivated basic research, education and faculty recruitment. The program addresses research on artificial intelligence and autonomous systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems-of-systems. Software is the main enabler in these systems, and is an integrated research theme of the program.

Vicenç Torra has spent the last two years in Ireland at Maynooth University and he was previously in Sweden at University of Skövde, and at the Spanish National Research Council. He is Catalan, from Barcelona.