Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Ramkumar, Mahalingam

Committee Member

Young, Maxwell

Committee Member

Hansen, Eric

Committee Member

Bhowmik, Tanmay

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Trust in information systems stem from two key properties of responses to queries regarding the state of the system, viz., i) authoritativeness, and ii) unbiasedness. That the response is authoritative implies that i) the provider (source) of the response, and ii) the chain of delegations through which the provider obtained the authority to respond, can be verified. The property of unbiasedness implies that no system data relevant to the query is deliberately or accidentally suppressed. The need for guaranteeing these two important properties stem from the impracticality for the verifier to exhaustively verify the correctness of every system process, and the integrity of the platform on which system processes are executed. For instance, the integrity of a process may be jeopardized by i) bugs (attacks) in computing hardware like Random Access Memory (RAM), input/output channels (I/O), and Central Processing Unit( CPU), ii) exploitable defects in an operating system, iii) logical bugs in program implementation, and iv) a wide range of other embedded malfunctions, among others. A first step in ensuing AU properties of geographic queries is the need to ensure AU responses to a specific type of geographic query, viz., point-location. The focus of this dissertation is on strategies to leverage assured point-location, for i) ensuring authoritativeness and unbiasedness (AU) of responses to a wide range of geographic queries; and ii) useful applications like Secure Queryable Dynamic Maps (SQDM) and trustworthy redistricting protocol. The specific strategies used for guaranteeing AU properties of geographic services include i) use of novel Merkle-hash tree- based data structures, and ii) blockchain networks to guarantee the integrity of the processes.