Pretty soon, the host of syndicated TV's Maury may be able to whip out his smartphone, look at the screen and proclaim, "You are the father!"
And if Maury Povich does do that, he'll have computer scientists to thank at UC Irvine, where an Android smartphone app has been developed to store a small amount of genomic data to conduct paternity tests and test cryptographic techniques.
According to the technology news site eWeek, the software platform, or personal genomic toolkit, is called GenoDroid, and the actual Android app is named Pater Noster, which means "our father" in Latin. Using the app and publicly available genomic data, the researchers were able to tell in less than a second whether one person was the father of a second.
"It doesn't do magic," Gene Tsudik, UCI professor of computer science, told eWeek's Brian T. Horowitz. "It just shows that today, it's practical to run privacy-preserving genomic applications [and] operations on modern smartphones–these ubiquitous personal devices."
Tsudik, as part of UCI's Security and Privacy Research Outfit (SPROUT), was assisted by Emiliano De Cristofaro of Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center and a UC Irvine doctoral program graduate; UC Irvine Ph.D. candidate Sky Faber; and Paolo Gasti, assistant professor at the New York Institute of Technology and a former UC Irvine postdoctoral researcher.