In conversation with our young researchers: Bowen Liu

15 April 2022

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Internet of things, security and privacy

Internet of things (IoT) are at every corner of our daily lives and disrupt numerous sectors of the society

How to ensure secure channels and services for Internet of things (IoT)? And how to protect and use data created by these new devices?

Bowen Liu is a PhD candidate in the IT for Innovation Services (ITIS) at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). He is working on the CATALYST project which aims to design post-quantum secure authentication protocols for IoT devices, and privacy-preserving protocols to share the data they generate.

Internet of hackable things

Today, IoT is appearing at every corner of our daily lives and disrupting a wide range of sectors in society such as energy, transportation, health, finance, and so on. As an example, connected cars and driverless vehicles intensively use IoT technologies to avoid accidents and control a wide array of safety technologies, from anti-lock brakes to airbags, and to interact with other vehicles. It is particularly important to ensure mutual authentication between devices and services in order to establish secure channels.


Besides, IoT devices are generating a dramatic amount of data due to their ever-growing sensing abilities. They have also posed unprecedented challenges to the society. The security and privacy issues are among the fundamental ones. As many people put it, IoT have now become the Internet of hackable things or Internet of bad things. Hence, there is a need to study how to make use of the data assets so as to create great opportunities for new cloud-based services, from data storage, data analysis, to numerous value-added services based on the data.

From France to Luxembourg, via Singapore

As computer science and mathematics are very attractive to Bowen, he chose to study computer science at Pascal University in France (now renamed as University of Clermont Auvergne) for his bachelor’s degree. Then Bowen finished his Master in Cryptology and IT Security at University of Bordeaux (France), where he further enhanced his mathematical attainment while studying computer science.

But until his Master graduate internship, research didn’t really cross Bowen’s professional path, except the occasional need to read relevant research papers. Thanks to an internship at Orange Lab in France, Bowen was able to fully experience the joys and motivations of research, and the fascination of what makes research and researchers different.

My research topic not only requires the cryptography foundation, but also the knowledge of the state-of-art security and privacy issues.

Bowen Liu

Bowen then arrived to the University of Luxembourg and started as a PhD candidate at LIST. His thesis entitled “Post-quantum Remote Device Authentication and Data Analysis Protocols for IoT” (CATALYST), began in September 2018 and is a Luxembourg-Singapore collaboration funded by a special programme of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR).

Thanks to this bilateral grant scheme, CATALYST leverages on LIST’s rich experiences on IoT applications, security & privacy along with the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s (SUTD) strong expertise in cyber-physical systems and IoT security at its iTrust centre.

The right mentor

According to Bowen, since he lacked a strong research background at the beginning, his supervisor Dr Qiang Tang helps him a lot. He has provided his patience, motivation, enthusiasm and knowledge for encouraging his research.

He is a tremendous mentor for my research and my life. His guidance and unwavering support helped me throughout my research at every step forward.

Bowen Liu

Smart city and smart country

As Luxembourg is applying ‘smart city’ practices in offering a wide range of high-quality services in various domains such as mobility, Bowen believes he can contribute toward building and enhancing such services to provide greater satisfaction and trust. Luxembourg is a perfect research base for him.

Moreover, as a highly developed country located in the heart of Europe, the strength of Europe’s financial centre and the flourishing competitiveness of research inspire him to take an active part in the researcher community of Luxembourg.

Generous Luxembourg

For Bowen, Luxembourg generously supports research. In addition, the country’s openness and highly collaborative nature with various countries and institutions offers more possibilities for collaboration, enhancement and visibility of your research.

Whatever your specialty, I believe there is a place for you in Luxembourg with its unique charms.

Bowen Liu

As an international country, English, French and German can easily be practiced. In addition, Bowen loves Luxembourg’s central location that enable inhabitants to enjoy the Europe and experience different European cultures. Luxembourg’s economic position of strength as well as strong support of research and collaborative mindset opens up endless possibilities for his future in research.

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