Hi! My name is Ryan Torok, and I am a software systems engineer at
zeroRISC, a startup company in
Boston developing a cloud security service for the
root-of-trust project. Over my long-term career, I am interested
in how to design and implement secure and usable computer systems
in both the commercial and government sectors, leading to a future
technology leadership role where I can specialize in making the
web a safe place for everyone. I also offer Computer
Science tutoring at several universities in
the Boston area.
After finishing my undergraduate degree in December 2020, I returned to
Boeing for another six-month stint, this time working on a few years'
worth of backlogged updates to the framework responsible for
running the Starliner's software qualification tests, whose
results are formally documented and sent to NASA. The updates
significantly reduced the amount of human inputs necessary to start the
tests, eliminating the chance for human error, and reduced the amount of
waiting time in between them.
I worked two internships with Boeing's software team in
summer 2019 and spring-summer 2020. I worked in the testing groups for the
software that runs on the International Space Station as well as Boeing's new
Commercial Crew spacecraft, the Starliner. With the critical
responsibility to protect the spacecraft and crew, this software has some of the
strongest correctness requirements in the world.
Sandcastle is a novel browser fingerprinting defense that uses
sandboxing techniques to minimize its interference with legitimate
applications. Sandcastle works by providing an expressive API that web
applications can use to communicate with the browser, which enables
the browser to understand to high precision what identifiable
information leaked by browser APIs is leaked to the network.
In my final two semesters as an undergraduate, I concluded my Turing Scholars honors Computer Science degree with a research project in Computer Architecture. The project began at the end of Dr. Calvin Lin's graduate research course focusing on hardware prefetching and caching. My final project for the course was an entirely new prefetcher which utilized register data to improve the accuracy of address-correlating prefetchers. The technique showed promise for traditional server workloads, but when I transitioned to focus on memory latency in graph workloads, I discovered the register-based techniques were not producing timely prefetches because of graphs' heavy pointer-chasing behavior. Then, I shifted my focus to different strategies, and ended up discovering two worthwhile techniques, a prefetcher which could extrapolate the neighbor indices in the CSR graph memory layout, and an alternate CSR-like layout which allows the graph to achieve better spatial locality and suffer fewer cache misses. These two topics became the subject of my senior honors thesis in December 2020. [back]
Though I have served as a TA a total of five times across two
universities, my first TA role at UT Austin is still the most special
to me. The cohort of 26 students I taught represented the inaugural
class of UT's new joint
Honors Computer Science and
Business program, and I was granted a chance to interact very
closely with my students as they braved a difficult course I
remembered struggling with as a freshman.
I have played the cello since age 10, and served as the vice president
of my high school orchestra. We regularly placed in the top 15 schools in the
state of Texas, also performed at prestigious national competitions, including
the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the ASTA National Orchestra Festival in
Pittsburgh, and the National Orchestra Cup in New York City's Lincoln Center
(unfortunately I was first chair for this one and my bridge broke on stage
during the performance — everyone was absolutely mortified). I also earned
the right to perform in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Region 9 Symphony Orchestra,
which accepts the top ten cellists across the North Houston area.
Since my time as a music student in high school, I have dedicated
significant time to composing my own orchestra music. I find writing
music to be quite theraputic, because while it is primarily a creative
activity, it also relies on detailed reasoning about factors such as
chord design, instrument ranges, balance across sections, and the
timbre of different instruments to discover the best way to translate
a desired sound in my head into a real score, and it is this process
that involves the same type of logic I use to solve problems in the
Computer Science realm. This combination of creative and logical
thinking makes the writing process the perfect intersection of art and
science that keeps me entertained for hours.
Christmas in Boston is a holiday-themed full-orchestra piece
named not after the city as a whole, but after a small store in
Faniuel Hall marketplace, which is open all 12 months of the year and
provides an excellent antidote to the summer heat if you
visit in July. As my first dive in to full orchestra composition, I
felt the piece struck the perfect balance between original melodies
and familiar classics to go down as a memorable holiday score. The
piece is organized into nine sections, which you can learn
about by clicking below.
[0:00] A Chillier Kind of Season
A Chillier Kind of Season
A Bustling Scene
A Peaceful Night
Snow on the Rooftops
From the Highest Peak
Northern Lights: A Winter Ambience
The Light Reappears
Holiday Spirit in the Air
I decided I had to include this picture I took in August 2022 from the
peak of Mount Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap. In the lower-right
corner, you can see the Delaware River carving through the Kittatinny
Mountains, paralleled on its right by Interstate 80, whose vehicles
look like tiny matchbox cars from this 1500-foot vantage point.