Computer Science Student Wins Research Poster Award

SOCORRO, N.M. October 20, 2015 – Computer science master's student Cristobal Gallegos won a top award for his research poster at the ACM Research in Adaptive and Convergent Systems 2015 conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

Gallegos presented "A Novel Device For Secure Home E-Voting," which he developed with advisor Dr. Dongwan Shin. This project is also his master's thesis.

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Cristobal Gallegos, master's student in computer science, with his poster in Prague, Czech Republic.


Gallegos developed a device that satisfies voting requirements, provides e-voting from home, and makes voting more convenient and accessible to the disabled.

"Existing machines store thousands of votes and that makes hacking them more desirable," Gallegos said. "The solution is to configure a device for each voter. Instead of one device to store many votes, you have many devices storing a single vote."

Gallegos' device is roughly the size of a smartphone, but has no external ports. The device features a touch-screen for voting and is accessed by voter ID and PIN. Once an end-user has voted, the device is simply dropped off at a collection facility. The device also has a tamper switch, which will brick/fry the machine if it is opened.

Gallegos has been working on this project for about a year. He published his results in the ACM RACS proceedings. ACM RACS invited Gallegos to present his poster at the conference in Prague.

"Cris figured out all the architectural and cryptographic functions to secure e-voting with the device," Dr. Shin said. "He identified the exact problem of secure e-voting, worked on the details and gave a great presentation.

Only 20 poster papers were selected to be presented at the conference.

"He has done an amazing job," Shin said. "He is a really hard-working student and very friendly to everybody. I'm very proud of him"

A native of tiny Questa, N.M., Gallegos earned his bachelor's in Individualized Computer Science, with a minor in Combined Science focused in math at New Mexico Highlands University. He is set to graduate from Tech in May 2016 with a master's from the Computer Science and Engineering Department. He has already had one job offer and is looking forward to more job interviews.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech