Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Turing Award to Shafi and Silvio

The 2012 ACM Turing Award, the highest honor in computer science, will be given to MIT cryptographers Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali. From the press release:
Working together, they pioneered the field of provable security, which laid the mathematical foundations that made modern cryptography possible. By formalizing the concept that cryptographic security had to be computational rather than absolute, they created mathematical structures that turned cryptography from an art into a science. Their work addresses important practical problems such as the protection of data from being viewed or modified, providing a secure means of communications and transactions over the Internet. Their advances led to the notion of interactive and probabalistic proofs and had a profound impact on computational complexity, an area that focuses on classifying computational problems according to their inherent difficulty.
Shafi and Silvio's paper Probabilistic Encrytion really did set the stage for modern cryptography. Their paper with Charlie Rackoff, The Knowledge Complexity of Interactive Proof Systems started my own research in that area. When I did my graduate work at MIT, I had many great discussions with Shafi and Silvio about cryptography and proof systems and I owe them much for my own research career.

Congrats to Shafi and Silvio!

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