Dr Gareth Tyson is a lecturer and Internet Data Scientist at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to this he worked at King's College London and Lancaster University, as well as holding visiting positions at University College London and Cambridge Computer Lab. His work takes a data-driven approach to understanding and solving emerging challenges in Internet systems. He tends to sit at the intersection between traditional systems design (i.e. understanding technology) and social computing (i.e. understanding humans). By collecting, compiling and combining empirical insights on these two things, he strives to improve the online security and performance for both humans and technology alike.
His work has received coverage from news outlets such as MIT Tech Review, Washington Post, Slashdot, BBC, The Times, Daily Mail, Wired, Science Daily, Ars Technica, The Independent, Business Insider and The Register. Dr Tyson serves as a reviewer and program committee member for a number of prominent conferences/journals, and has received several awards including the Outstanding Reviewer Award twice at ICWSM, the Honourable Mention Award at WWW'18, a Teaching Excellence Award at QMUL, and the Brendan Murphy Young Research Award.
The Internet is an increasingly prominent element of our daily lives. Rather than being a simple communications vehicle, it has become a complex ecosystem driven by a mix of social, economic and technological aspects. Dr Tyson's research focuses on understanding this mix to better streamline and secure how the Internet operates. His work as a Turing Fellow particularly focuses on the Decentralised Web. This theme is driven by a growing concern that has gained attention in recent years: the increasing centralisation of power around a small number of online 'hypergiants' (e.g. Amazon, Facebook).
This centralisation refers not only to the vast quantity of infrastructure they own, but also to the amount of user data they hold. In response to this trend, a number of decentralised alternatives have emerged. These are web platforms that offer similar services (e.g. microblogging, social networking) but without centralising infrastructure and data under the ownership of a single organisation. This new Decentralised Web offers countless opportunities, but also comes with significant security, privacy and performance challenges. Dr Tyson's work at the Turing focuses on understanding how these emerging platforms are used, and devising decentralised techniques by which their security and performance can compete with (and even outstrip) that of the existing hypergiants.