Archive for the 'Teaching' Category

Cybersecurity Summer Camp

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

I helped organize a summer camp for high school teachers focused on cybersecurity, led by Ahmed Ibrahim. Some of the materials from the camp on cryptography, including the Jefferson Wheel and visual cryptography are here: Cipher School for Muggles.

Cybersecurity Goes to Summer Camp. UVA Today. 22 July 2018. []

Earlier this week, 25 high school teachers – including 21 from Virginia – filled a glass-walled room in Rice Hall, sitting in high adjustable chairs at wheeled work tables, their laptops open, following a lecture with graphics about the dangers that lurk in cyberspace and trying to figure out how to pass the information on to a generation that seems to share the most intimate details of life online. “I think understanding privacy is important to that generation that uses Facebook and Snapchat,” said David Evans, a computer science professor who helped organize the camp. “We hope to give teachers some ideas and tools to get their students excited about learning about cryptography, privacy and cybersecurity, and how these things can impact them.”

(Also excerpted in ACM TechNews, 29 June 2018.)

UVa bootcamp aims to increase IT training for teachers. The Daily Progress. 22 June 2018. []

Summer School at Notre Dame

Friday, May 13th, 2016

I presented two tutorials on oblivious computation at Notre Dame’s Summer School on Secure and Oblivious Computation and Outsourcing. SRG PhD Yan Huang, now at Indiana University, was one of the other tutorial presenters. I also learned a lot about verifiable computation and argument systems from Justin Thaler. Thanks to Marina Blanton for organizing a great summer school!

Slides for my tutorials on garbling techniques and memory for data oblivious computation are below.

Hacker School Talk: What Every Hacker Should Know about Theory of Computation

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

I had a chance earlier this week to visit and speak at Hacker School in New York. Hacker School is an amazing place, billed as a “retreat for programmers”, where a remarkable group of curious and self-motivated people from a wide range of backgrounds put their lives on hold for 12 weeks to gather with like-minded people to learn about programming and spend their evenings (and 21st birthday parties) hearing talks about computability!

Slides and notes from my talk are here: What Every Hacker Should Know about Theory of Computation.

Engineering Cryptosystems

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

I gave a four-session “mini-course” for Microstrategy on Engineering Cryptosystems. It ended up attracting enough interest to be moved from their offices to a nearby movie theater!

The course was targeted to engineers at Microstrategy with no prior experience with cryptography, and designed to give them some ideas of the power of modern cryptography, and to provide enough stories about cryptosystems going bad to convince them not do try to develop their own cryptosystems, and to know enough to ask the right questions of people who do.

The four main topics were:

Since it was in a movie theater, it also provided an opportunity to officially screen this trailer in a real movie theater:

Congratulations SRG Graduates

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 SRG Graduates!

Tianhao Tong (MCS), Dr. Yan Huang (PhD)

Jonathan Burket (BACS with Highest Distinction), William Melicher (BSCS, not pictured)


Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

UVa Today has an article about my talk yesterday on open education: Evans: U.Va. Should Be a Global Leader in MOOCS, Online Learning, UVaToday, 1 May 2013. The article focuses just on the last slide, which is my proposal for what UVa should do.

The full talk is available at and below:

CS101: One Year Later

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

I’ve written a post for the Udacity blog on CS101: One Year Later.

The Power of Computing

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

I’m quoted in this USA Today article: The power of computing, USA Today, 4 June 2012.

“To understand the world, you need to understand computing and programming,” Evans, who is also a computer science professor at University of Virginia, said in an email. “Without understanding computers and how they are programmed, much of the world will increasingly seem like magic.”

While Steve Jobs famously talked about computers as bicycles for the mind 20 years ago, computers today are far more powerful and connected worldwide as “super-tanker-sized, hypersonic spaceships of the mind,” said Evans.

“Without learning to program, you can still ride them if you are willing to remove your shoes at the security checkpoint and go where the pilot wants to go,” said Evans, “but if you want to be the one flying, you need to learn about computing.”

Silver Bullet Interview

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

I was interviewed on Gary McGraw’s Silver Bullet podcast.

Gary and Dave discuss the founding of the Interdisciplinary Major in Computer Science (BA) at UVa and why a broad approach to Computer Science and Computer Security is a good idea, why data privacy gets short shrift in the United States, why people think (for no apparent reason) that their mobile devices are secure, groceries, David’s research on Secure Computation, and the Udacity project. They close out their discussion with a story about David’s trip to the World Cup in Korea and a choice between GEB and scheme.

You can download the podcast from

Professors Without Borders

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

My favorite article about Udacity so far is Professors without Borders, Prospect Magazine, 28 June 2012.

Not long ago, on a rainy Saturday morning, Professor Dave Evans and I hung out in bed while he tried to explain recursive functions (for the fourth time) and I worked on my homework. Or rather, I hung out in bed, and Evans, a computer science professor at the University of Virginia, hung out on my laptop screen, where I could—click—pause him midsentence and pour myself another cup of coffee.

“Computer Science 101: Building a Search Engine” was one of Udacity’s first offerings, and for seven weeks this spring, Evans was teaching me and 30,000 others to write enough Python—a basic programming language—to create a mini Google. We started with basics, including the difference between a computer and a toaster, and “bits” versus “bytes.” Then we went back in time for a little nerd history, from Augusta Ada King, Lord Byron’s daughter and the world’s first “programmer,” to PageRank, the search algorithm that powers Google.

Evans is the kind of nerdy savant whose gap-tooth smile and Monty Python humour attract a cult following on campus. (As an academic, he’s also a world-class cryptographer.) Thrun and Stavens found him in November 2011, flew him to Palo Alto in December, and by January he was crammed in a makeshift recording studio—still in Thrun’s guesthouse—rejigging his standard university curriculum into a Udacity one.