IAI Colloquium: Sennur Ulukus, "Private information retrieval"
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
1146 AV Williams Building
Private information retrieval: How to get something without letting anyone know what you got
Professor Sennur Ulukus
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Institute for Systems Research
Private information retrieval (PIR) is a canonical problem to study the privacy of users as they download content from publicly accessable databases. In PIR, a user (retriever) wishes to download data from one or more databases in such a way that no individual database gets to know which data has been retrieved. PIR has originated in the computer science literature, and has recently been revisited by the information theory community. The information-theoretic re-formulation of the problem aims at determining the fundamental limits of the PIR problem, i.e., what is the largest number of bits that can be retrieved privately per bit of download, or equivalently, what is the minimum number of downloads needed per bit of private retrieval? This new approach also proposes novel PIR schemes which achieve or approach these fundamental limits. In this talk, I will describe the problem and present some of the recent advances in this field.