Since January 2017, I have been an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Chicago. I founded the UChicago SUPERgroup, an interdisciplinary research collective with dozens of incredible members. Our research spans computer security, privacy, human-computer interaction (HCI), and ethical AI. We are especially interested in developing data-driven methods for helping users make better security and privacy decisions, as well as making complex computer systems more usable for non-technical users. Our work has been supported by seven NSF grants, as well as grants from Mozilla Research and the Data Transparency Lab.
I have been fortunate to receive a Quantrell Award for Undergraduate Teaching (2021), NSF CAREER Award (2021), SIGCHI Outstanding Dissertation Award (2018), three best paper awards (CHI 2017, USENIX Security 2016, and UbiComp 2014), five honorable mentions for best paper (CHI 2021, CHI 2021, CHI 2020, CHI 2016, and CHI 2012), the John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award (2016), an NDSEG Fellowship (2012), and a Fulbright Scholarship (2010). Jointly with the other core members of the CMU passwords group, I also received the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence (2020) and the IEEE Cybersecurity Award for Practice (2018). I have strong interests in teaching and outreach to high school students, particularly for broadening participation in CS.
I earned a PhD in 2016 from Carnegie Mellon University’s Societal Computing program, where I was advised by Lorrie Cranor. My dissertation focused on supporting users’ password-security decisions with data. Earlier, I earned an AB in computer science from Harvard University and worked for three years at Rutgers University on outreach and diversity programs.
My first name is pronounced “blaze,” and my full name is pronounced “blazer.” I strongly prefer to be called Blase rather than Professor Ur or Dr. Ur, both of which sound ridiculous. (Note, just Blase, not Professor Blase or Dr. Blase). I use he/him pronouns.
I am also a musician and photographer, and previously a theatre designer. I ride my bicycle (almost) everywhere, collect records, travel, and drink too much coffee. I’m from somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.
Focus Areas: Human Computer Interaction, Privacy, Security
The SUPERgroup (Security, Usability, & Privacy Education & Research group) is an interdisciplinary research collective comprising dozens of members at the University of Chicago and is organized by Blase Ur. We collaborate with (and were formerly combined with) the AIR lab. We work at the intersection of computer security, privacy, and HCI, as evidenced by our recent publications. Current projects focus on data-driven methods to improve online security and privacy, as well as improving interaction for both the Internet of Things and machine learning systems.