Photo: Cole Geddy/UVa
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David Evans
Professor of Computer Science
University of Virginia

Rice Hall 507 - - Contact Information


My research seeks to create systems that can be trusted even in the presence of malicious attackers and that empower individuals to control how their data are used. This involves many traditional research areas, including security, software engineering, programming languages, cryptography, and networking. My research group's current work focuses mainly on two areas: secure computation and web/mobile security.

In Spring 2015, I will teach a new course on cryptocurrencies. Previous courses include cs4414: Operating Systems (the first course to use the Rust programming language) and cs101: Building a Search Engine (an open on-line course that has enrolled over 200,000 314,159 students) [Prospect Magazine, Chronicle, more...].

I wrote two introductory computer science books, both of which are available as free downloads under a Creative Commons license, and as nicely printed color versions from

Dori-Mic and the Universal Machine!
(With Illustrations by Kim Dylla), 2014
A Tragicomic Tale of Combinatorics and Computability
for Curious Children of All Ages

"If only I had this book when I was young, I might have done something useful with my life like discover a new complexity class instead of dropping out and wasting my life on flipping pancakes, playing with basic blocks, and eradicating polo."
Gill Bates, Founder of Mic-Soft Corporation

Introduction to Computing:
Explorations in Language, Logic, and Machines

Introductory computer science coursebook, 2007-2012.

On-line version available from

I was the Founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Major in Computer Science (BA) for students in the College of Arts and Sciences that was approved in February 2006. I was Program Co-Chair for the 2010 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy ("Oakland"). I won the Outstanding Faculty Award (2009) from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

I joined UVA's Computer Science Department in November 1999 after completing my PhD, SM and SB degrees at MIT.



All it took was for a University of Virginia student to finally outsmart the popular SMART cards... Falling into the wrong hands, this security loophole can be and will surely be used in high profile heists and break-ins, seemingly straight from a James Bond movie.
Hacked RFIDs Render Smart Cards Less Smarter, TrendLabs Malware Blog, 18 March 2008.

Except for the wire problem, the computer was a success. We could solve this with larger wires and by growing hair to cover our ears, a conspicuous style at the time, or persuade our reluctant wives to "wire up". We adjourned to consider.
Edward Thorp, on building computers with Claude Shannon

I am a little troubled about the tea service in the electronic computer building. Apparently the members of your staff consume several times as much supplies as the same number of people do in Fuld Hall and they have been especially unfair in the matter of sugar.... I should like to raise the question whether it would not be better for the computer people to come up to Fuld Hall at the end of the day at 5 o'clock and have their tea here under proper supervision.
Letter to John von Neumann (shown in George Dyson's talk on The birth of the computer)

More Quotes

I have the privilege of working with a team of extraordinary students, including both graduate and undergraduate students.

If you are a UVa undergraduate or graduate student interested in joining my research group, please look over our project pages (linked below), browse our group blog, and send me email to arrange a meeting or drop by my office hours. If you are considering applying to our PhD program, please read my advice for prospective research students. If you think you are ready for graduate school, you may also want to try our previous pre-qualification exam [PDF].

Everyone is welcome at the Security Research Group meetings (subscribe to the mailing list for notifications).

UVa Students and Alumni at USENIX Security 2011

My research group is currently funded primarily by grants from the National Science Foundation (TC: Large: Collaborative Research: Practical Secure Two-Party Computation: Techniques, Tools, and Applications), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Defending Against Hostile Operating Systems (MURI) and Designing for Measurable Security), and two Google Research Awards.

Active Projects

Tools and techniques for efficient, practical multi-party secure computation.
Automated techniques to detect vulnerabilities in web applications, focusing on integration of single sign-on services.
Hardware, Languages, and Architectures for Defense Against Hostile Operating Systems with UC Berkeley, Harvard University, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Stony Brook (AFOSR MURI)
An integrated suite of techniques for protecting applications and their data from hostile environments.

Completed Projects

Recent and Upcoming Conferences

(Selected, see full list.)

24th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Sec 2015), Program Committee Member
36th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2015), Program Committee Member
23nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Sec 2014), Program Committee Member
31st IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2010), Program Committee Co-Chair
NSF/IARPA/NSA Workshop on the Science of Security (Berkeley, Nov 2008), Lead Organizer


I won the Harold Morton Jr. SEAS Award for Teaching (2003-4), an All-University Teaching Award (2008), and an Outstanding Faculty Award (2009) from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. This essay explains my teaching philosophy.

I was the Founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Major in Computer Science, which became the most popular major taught by the Engineering School (until caps were instituted in 2013).

I believe public universities have a mission to provide open education, and make all of my teaching materials openly available. I published an open introductory computing textbook based on the cs1120 course.

Selected UVa Courses (Full List)
External Courses
Engineering Cryptosystems (4-class course on building cryptographic systems for working engineers, taught at Tyson's Corner AMC Theater, October 2013)
cs101: Building a Search Engine (open on-line course offerd through Udacity that has enrolled over 340,000 students)
cs387: Applied Cryptography (open on-line Udacity course that has enrolled over 58,000 students)
Cryptography in World War II (4-class course for Jefferson Institute for Life-Long Learning)
Dragon Crypto (2-day cryptography course for middle school students)

Science is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that's been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Science needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places science in its rightful place alongside music, art and literature as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.
Brian Greene, Put a Little Science in Your Life (New York Times, June 1, 2008)


My most visited page is my Advice for Prospective Research Students. I have also written some advice of giving talks, and collected my favorite advice from others.

My academic genealogy traces back to Gottfried Wilheim Leibniz.

I have taken some pictures including: Yellowstone, Glacier, Death Valley, Yosemite, Lawn Lighting, Nature near Charlottesville, China, and Bletchley Park. I also have pictures from my trips to World Cups: France 1998, Korea 2002, South Africa 2010.


My wife is pursuing a PhD in Mathematics at UVa (currently on leave).

Our daughter, Dorina Michelle, was born 29 June 2012. She made her first original computer science contribution at only eight months old, discovering the non-equivalence of the Kleene-* and Kleene-X operators. Since then, she has been focusing on languages and inputs and outputs, but hasn't completely neglected theoretical computer science.

Family pages: NeuroKitchen Arts Collective (my sister's project), my brother's blog, Science Serving Society (my Dad's site, focusing on traffic safety), Art Talks (by my Mom).