General Information

Course description

Empirical measurement is a growing field within security, influencing topics ranging from network security to censorship to privacy. This course covers traditional and emerging empirical methodologies through the lens of modern measurement papers across the area of computer security. Course goals include broader understanding of empirical measurement considerations (ranging from technical to ethical), and the ability to apply sound and rigorous methodologies to the students’ own research.


  • CS 4235 Undergraduate Introduction to Information Security or equivalent
  • CS {3|4}251 Undergraduate Computer Networking or equivalent
  • CS 4237 Undergraduate Computer and Network Security or equivalent is helpful but not required

Class meetings

  • When: T/Th 9:35-10:40am
  • Where: CCB 53

Who should take 8803-EMS?

8803-EMS is primarily intended for PhD students (motivated seniors and MS students are also welcome!) who want to learn about both the fundamentals and latest research advances in measurement and network security.

Grading policy

  • Participation (10%): Attending and engaging with (asking questions, participating in discussion) class meetings.
  • Discussion Lead (in class) (10%): Presenting 1-2 paper summaries (pending enrollment) at some point throughout the semester. (Sign-up information pending).
  • Paper Summaries (written) (10%): Writeup and submit a brief paper summary and questions by noon the day before each lecture (beginning week 2). 3-5 will be selected at random for evaluation. Format:
    • What are the paper’s main contributions? (3-5 sentences max)
    • What parts of the paper are questionable? (E.g., methodology, omissions, relevance, presentation, ethics.) (3-5 sentences max)
    • What parts of the paper do you find unclear? (Optional)
    • Most homeworks will include an additional specific question or sometimes two regarding the topic, such as challenging you to come up with and defend a proposed solution. (3-5 sentences max)
  • Project (70%): A final project, including proposal, demo/presentation and write-up.
    • Proposal presentation (10%, Sep 26, Oct 17/22)
    • Demo & presentation (20%, Nov 26, Dec 3)
    • Write-up (40%, Dec 9)

All students must follow the academic integrity and Georgia Tech Honor Code.


  • Office hours: Paul Pearce, Tuesdays 11am Klaus 1212 (except where noted)
  • Feel free to send us an email to make an appointment (Email)