Alexander Sjösten specialises in security
Alexander Sjösten recently received a doctorate from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He was part of a research group for language-based security. Alexander's path to life as a PhD has been through the Computer Science bachelor, followed by the master's programme in the same field - both at the University of Gothenburg.
What did you work with as a PhD?
– I have worked with trying to start a system for browsers to be able to follow the information flow in a web application. The system has a strong focus on security where we tag data as sensitive or non-sensitive information. The basic idea is that sensitive input data should never affect non-sensitive output data – there should never be a risk of sensitive data leaking out of the system in any way.
What was the most exciting thing about your PhD position?
– To have the opportunity to be at the front edge. It is not very likely that I would've had the opportunity to work with this if I was out in the industry. The reason why we are researching in this area is to achieve something very specific, where no one has found a solution yet.
How did you get into the field of computer science?
– I have a technical background with a lot of math and programming, so this felt like a natural path for me. I saw that the Computer Science programme at the University of Gothenburg was one of the programmes that had the most elective courses. This means that you can choose a niche yourself. I was attracted by that opportunity.
What was the best thing about the education?
– The great freedom of choice, the opportunity to influence the focus of my education and the high quality of the courses. A national evaluation of educations in the computer science field was made when I went to the Computer Science programme and our programme was rated "very high quality".
Was there anything less good about the education?
– The education was very good when I took it. But I can honestly say that the course coordinators had quite little control over what applied to the students from the University of Gothenburg, since the majority of the students on the same courses were from Chalmers. But already when I read my master's a few years later, it became much better and more obvious that there were two student categories: "for you who study at the University of Gothenburg, this applies and for you who are students at Chalmers, this applies".
Why did you chose to study you master's at University of Gothenburg?
– For two reasons. Partly because the master's degree in Computer Science at the University of Gothenburg also means a great deal of freedom of choice to combine my own courses – I had my focus on security and the similar focus could not really be obtained at Chalmers in an easy way. The other reason was because I already had my bachelor degree from the University of Gothenburg, which means I basically got a place guarantee on the master's programme.
In the autumn of 2020, Alexander will begin his postdoc at the Technical University of Vienna.
Text: Catharina Jerkbrant