Lauren Biernacki smiles

What I study and why: My area of research lies at the intersection of computer architecture and security, where I study how to prevent data breaches by embedding encryption protections in hardware. In this work, we design, prototype, and evaluate custom hardware designs, engineering novel computer architectures that are dynamic, expressive, and performant security solutions. 

I am interested in security and privacy research because of the increasing incidences of high-profile data breaches and clever attacks that exploit weaknesses throughout the software stack. Further, the security landscape consists not only of these novel exploits, but also of exploits we have known about for decades that leverage vulnerabilities equally as pervasive. Despite awareness of these vulnerabilities and significant efforts to defend against them, exploits remain widespread. I study ways in which encrypted computer architectures can provide comprehensive security and privacy guarantees in this seemingly endless security arms race. 

This fall, I’m teaching: CS 104 Computer Gaming and ECE 212 Digital Circuits II

What students can expect from me: My teaching philosophy revolves around providing multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate content mastery, fostering a welcoming and collaborative classroom environment, creating opportunities for choice and creativity during projects, and embracing equitable course policies. Students can expect our classroom to reflect these pillars—competence, relatedness, agency, and equity.

I’m excited to be here because: Throughout my graduate studies, I have been equally passionate about teaching, mentoring students, and conducting research. I am excited to join an institution that aligns strongly with these values and provides opportunities to work closely with students in small classroom settings. 

Getting to know me: I love spending time in nature and enjoy birding, hiking, and camping. My other hobbies foster my creativity—I enjoy sewing, knitting, and making things in general.

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