PhD student wins Fellowship for her work in cloud storage

PhD student Ioanna Karantaidou sits in front of a brick wall for her news profile.
Ioanna Karantaidou

Ioanna Karantaidou, a PhD student in George Mason University’s College of Engineering and Computing’s Computer Science Department, has won a one-year fellowship from Protocol Labs, where she will work on their Fielcoin project, investigating innovations in cloud storage. Her fellowship is for $60k, which will cover tuition, travel, healthcare costs, and salary.

Cloud storage is dominated by a few large organizations and Filecoin seeks to decentralize this important service by allowing numerous small entities to provide storage –– even someone with a hard drive could sign up as a provider. But while users may be comfortable saving files in an established company such as Google Drive, they may not have the same trust in a decentralized service with which they are unfamiliar. Karantaidou’s work centers on establishing protocols that will test to ensure service providers are behaving honestly and incentivize them to do so. The goal is for these measures to ultimately lead to greater client trust and more widespread use of decentralized cloud storage services.

Karantaidou says her journey into the field “makes sense.” Growing up in Greece she enjoyed math and wanted to study computers, so got involved in informatics. She says, “In Greece, you don’t have a double major, so I have two bachelor’s degrees - in math and computer science - and cryptography is at the intersection of those two. It was my favorite class in both programs.”  

Karantaidou’s advisor at Mason is Foteini Baldimtsi, an assistant professor in the computer science department.