No Data, No Problem—Giving Nuclear Inspectors Better Tools without Revealing State Secrets

Note: Presentation times are in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Monday, February 01, 2021 - 11:30 am12:00 pm

Mitch Negus, University of California, Berkeley


Nuclear safeguards protect nuclear material from being diverted from legitimate activities, like nuclear power applications or nuclear physics research, to more sinister purposes. International regulations dictate the safeguards protocols that must be adhered to, and in general, nations meet these obligations as necessary. However, reluctance on the part of participating nations and their businesses to yield more information than is absolutely necessary stands as an obstacle against bringing the full force of modern data analytics to bear in safeguards applications. Privacy-preserving computation, including secure multiparty computation (MPC), presents a solution. Garbled circuits, a specific class of MPC algorithms, allow multiple parties (in this case an international inspector and a nation-state or nuclear facility) to jointly perform calculations without revealing their respective inputs. Having previously shown that garbled circuits can successfully identify anomalies in time series data, this work pivots to showing that these anomaly detection circuits can distinguish anomalous events in categorically specific nuclear safeguards relevant time series.

Mitch Negus, University of California, Berkeley

Mitch Negus is PhD student in Department of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley. He researches privacy-preserving computation as it applies to nuclear safeguards, specifically developing software tools to allow safeguards-relevant conclusions to be reached without revealing the underlying data. Mitch is also interested in nuclear energy, loves teaching, and he gets excited to learn and share best practices in reproducible scientific computing.

Mitch moved to Berkeley after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BS in Physics. He earned his MS modeling nuclear reactors before transitioning to his current work.

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@conference {264104,
author = {Mitch Negus},
title = {No Data, No Problem{\textemdash}Giving Nuclear Inspectors Better Tools without Revealing State Secrets},
year = {2021},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = feb,

Presentation Video