About Me

I am currently a fifth year Ph.D candidate at the University of Pennsylvania in Computer & Information Science. My main research interests are Security and Cryptography.

I am also pursuing a Master In Law, a non practicing law degree, in order to better understand the interplay between technology and policy.

Prior to my Ph.D, in 2014 I completed a Bachelor of Science (Physics/Computer Science) along with a Diploma of Music (Practical - Classical Singing) at the University of Melbourne, in Australia from where I hail.

During my undergraduate studies, I participated in study abroad at the University of Pennsylvania and achieved the grades to be awarded a Dean's List Citation.

Additionally, I have been tutoring/TAing for six years and have been awarded an Excellence in Tutoring Award from the University of Melbourne.

I spent a summer working on Cybersecurity Policy in the office of Senator Ron Wyden. I was a Facebook winter intern at their Menlo Park HQ during 2014 and worked on the account deletion system.

Currently I work as a 'Graduate Associate' at Riepe College House, where I live with and counsel twenty-eight wonderful young adults.

Contact Information

Address Distribued Systems Lab
3300 Walnut St
Philadelphia PA,
Email shaanan[at]cohney.info

Fields of Interest

Applied Cryptography; Public Policy; Law; Computer Security; Experimental Particle Physics

Recent Publications and Research

Invited Talks

Teaching, Tutoring & TAing

  • 2013 Spring Semester (UPenn) - Algorithms and Data Structures
  • 2013 Semester 2 (Unimelb) - Engineering Computation
  • 2014 Semester 1 (Unimelb) - Computer Systems
  • 2014 Semester 1 (Unimelb) - Foundations of Computing
  • 2014 Semester 1 (Unimelb) - TRICS Presenter (Theoretical Research in Computer Science), Cryptography
  • 2015, 2016, 2017f, 2017s (UPenn) - Computer and Network Security
  • 2015, 2016 Fall Semester (UPenn) - Operating Systems
  • 2016 Spring Semester (UPenn) - Technology and Policy



JS; Golang; C; PHP; Python; HTML/CSS; Linux Systems Administration; Cyber Security;


  • I sing in multiple different choirs, the most significant of them being the Penn Glee Club.
  • I spend much of my free time playing piano, predominantly works from musical theatre.
  • I came second place in a safe cracking tournament.
  • I have five years of experience as an informal educator in a community youth movement.