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Name of scholarship/program

Argumentation and Privacy

Important description
This studentship investigates issues surrounding privacy and argumentation. We will investigate how argumentation can be used to reason about the long-term effects of introducing information into a system, and explain these effects to a non-technical audience. Potential applications include a digital assistant capable of warning about the effects of posting information onto social networks.
We seek argument based reasoning techniques allowing one to determine whether an information providing utterance would be believed by its receiver (taking provenance etc. into account); whether the receiver will transmit this information further (considering the nature of the receiver and social context), and from this, reason about whether information should be uttered so as to comply with privacy requirements. Such techniques allow a simulation to compute societal information flows, yielding an information provision strategy. This would achieve the studentship’s first goal.
Reasoning will revolve around argument schemes, which capture defeasible reasoning rules. By identifying such schemes for reasoning about privacy with regards to the issues mentioned above, a framework for reasoning can be constructed. Instantiations of argument schemes yield arguments, which attack or support each other. Arguments that survive this process (i.e. which are not attacked by other unattacked arguments) allow consistent conclusions to be identified, justifying a decision.
Existing work on information leakage is theoretical in nature and is inaccessible to non-technical users, requiring a deep understanding of statistics and formal notation in order to be usable. Our approach overcomes these issues — it will be implemented (while still guaranteeing certain formal properties such as upper complexity limits), and the argument-based approach will enable laypeople to utilize the resulting tool. More specifically, argument schemes will be expressed in natural language terms, allowing users to both understand the reasoning process and provide additional inputs when necessary, providing a form of explanation and mixed initiative reasoning.

The successful applicant will have a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) Computing Science, Maths, Physics, Philosophy (if there is a logic background) along with knowledge in Logic and/or discrete mathematics and some programming ability

Eligibility and other criteria
If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.

Application deadline
*Applications accepted all year round

Additional information, and important URL
Applications can be accepted from students worldwide. Applicants should note that there is no funding attached to this project therefore the successful candidate will entirely responsible for the payment of tuition fees, living expenses and other such costs associated with living and studying in Aberdeen.

The project will be awarded to the first suitable applicant. The start date will be agreed between the successful applicant and their supervisors.

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