Security, Privacy & Cryptography research area
December 2, 2019 - December 4, 2019

Private AI Bootcamp

Location: Redmond, Washington, USA

Venue: Microsoft, Building 41/Townsend

Registration and applications are now closed. Contact us:

The Private AI Bootcamp offered by Microsoft Research (MSR) focuses on tutorials of building privacy-preserving machine learning services and applications with homomorphic encryption (HE). Around 30 PhD students will be invited to gather at the Microsoft Research Lab in Redmond on Dec 2nd – 4th, 2019. The program contents are specifically designed for training. Participants will master the use of HE, the Microsoft SEAL library, and the methodology behind building privacy-preserving machine learning solutions. As a project as well as a competition, students will work in teams, design and pitch a novel technology built upon what they have learnt during the bootcamp, and receive feedback and scores from experts. There is a secret prize for the winning team. There are also social events where all participants will have a chance to meet and network with other PhD students and experts from MSR.


  • Focus on building applications with FHE and using development tools.
  • Trainings offered by top researchers in the field and developers of Microsoft SEAL.
  • Work in groups and pitch your innovation to invited Microsoft researchers and expert university faculty members serving as judges. The winning group will be announced and pitch to industrial representatives in the following workshop.

Required action items

  • Attendees are required to arrive 12/1 and depart after 5pm on 12/4. If you are not able to stay for the duration of the event, please email with your reasoning and we will review.
  • Please email a single one minute self-introduction slide, saved in PDF format, for final acceptance into this workshop. Please use this template as a guide.

Competition rules

  • All participants form teams of 3-4 members. Each team will pitch a novel project or idea related to privacy-preserving machine learning (PPML) powered by Homomorphic Encryption (HE), based on what they have learned during the bootcamp. For example, it can be an IoT device, an extension to a software, a cloud-based service, etc. Don’t be shy on imagination. Groups are assigned in consideration of diversity in research background.
  • Four researchers from Microsoft Research will serve as judges, ask questions, provide feedback, and score every team. Be prepared for tough questions related to security, practicality, foreseeable challenges, competitive solutions, business impact, etc. This is a harder presentation than the usual tech pitch from young start-ups, since our judges do understand technical details.
  • The pitch should cover the design of a prototype. It is encouraged but not required to present a live demo or a proof-of-concept (POC). Implementing a POC can reveal unexpected technical difficulties that might have been overlooked by you but caught by the judges.
  • The scoring is based on four pillars: novelty, feasibility, security, and impact. There is a finer partitioning of scores for each pillar. As a team, a perfect pitch has an original idea that truly solves a privacy problem in people’s life, is realizable by your design, is constructed bulletproof for the protection that you claim to provide with, and offers game-changing features that alternative solutions do not.


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