TA Spotlight: Dhruv Kuchhal

Each week we spotlight an OMSCS TA, so you can get to know who's behind the screen. Here are four questions for Dhruv Kuchhal, who TAs CS6262: Network Security.


What do you do professionally?
I am a Ph.D. student in computer science at Georgia Tech focusing mostly on computer security problems. I'm excited about collecting and mining massive datasets to leverage actionable insights that can solve pertinent problems to improve the end-user's security experience. Before coming to Tech, I have spent some time in the area of social computing and HCI, both from a computer security perspective. On a social computing side, I worked on detecting and characterizing spam on social networks and building intelligent solutions to mitigate misinformation on WhatsApp. On the HCI side, I contributed to work measuring, understanding, and improving the quality of security advice, along with developing novel tools to measure the readability of domain-specific texts.

Why do you TA for OMSCS?
I really enjoy interacting with the students and helping them out. Having been through the coursework myself, I realize how important a role a TA plays in the learning process for a student, and I am always cognizant of that fact during my interactions. It’s fulfilling for a TA when they guide a student through a tough problem and the student reaches that eureka moment when they can really see the solution clearly without having been explicitly told the solution. I also learn a lot while TAing: There are things I realize I never paid as much attention to while studying myself, but when I discuss it with a student, I read up in-depth and that helps increase my depth of the subject. Administering projects and grading students are also excellent learning experiences; Piazza discussions highlight where we can improve the course, and we learn to think like an instructor — which, among other things, helps us when we're on the other side as a student in a different class.

What's your advice for future students in OMSCS?
From my personal experience, I would say my only advice would be: choose coursework carefully. Don't take up more coursework than you can reasonably learn in a semester. Keep in mind your other responsibilities and the time they'll be taking up, and start early on projects.

What's your preferred programming language and why?
Python, of course. It is super intuitive and versatile, and has amazing community support. You've got a task to do? No worries, you got a Python library for it.