Doctoral Research at KIT

An Interview with TT.-Prof. Dr. Christian Wressnegger

Current Position and Field of Research
I am an assistant professor (with tenure track) at the KASTEL-Institute of KIT, where I head the "Intelligent System Security" research group. My research group and I work at the intersection of machine learning and computer security. Our focus is two-fold: On the one hand, we develop learning-based methods to secure computer systems. On the other hand, we research the robustness and security of machine learning methods themselves.

What excites you about your work and research at KIT?
As one of Germany's universities of excellence, KIT offers an ideal environment for conducting and pushing forward our research. The support becomes apparent in the available funds, the collective competence in computer security within KASTEL, and the promotion of talented students and young research scientists. Recently, we have also established the "KIT Graduate School Cyber Security" to push forward offerings for doctoral students.

Why did you choose an academic career?
Right after my studies in computer science, I took on a position as a software engineer. Although I greatly enjoyed this career phase and I have learned a lot, I was always drawn to research. Luckily, I could pursue my passion within a project of my former employer, which eventually led me to do a Ph.D. at university. This way, I ultimately arrived at KIT after intermediate stops in Vienna, Lisbon, and Berlin.

What do I need to pursue doctoral research at KIT?
Formally, you require a Master's degree in computer science or any related domain. More importantly, however, you should be excited about research and have the ambition to solve challenging problems in computer security. Whether these challenges are practical or theoretical, are very technical or approached by taking societal aspects into account, or concern Hardware or Software is secondary. The individual research groups at KASTEL cover a large variety of different topics and domains. Consequently, there is something for every taste and preference.

How is the working environment at the institute?
Computer security is a competitive field of research but offers wonderful opportunities with exceptional people. At the KASTEL-Institute, we cherish a collegial and friendly working environment. We love research and are open to new ideas, exciting discussions, and kind personalities. In my research group, we, for instance, do BBQs regularly and enjoy great food to clear one's minds.

What kind of support do you seek?
We seek talented people who get excited over computer security and love to get creative in using, attacking, and securing machine learning. Next to Ph.D. students, we also want to offer post-doctoral researchers the chance to develop their research profiles in an aspiring group and take on a leading role.


TT.-Prof. Dr. Christian Wressnegger
Intelligent System Security

c wressnegger does-not-exist.kit edu