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Dan Boneh honored for innovations that have simplified cryptography

Computer science and electrical engineering professor will receive 2014 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award.

Dan Boneh honored for innovations that have simplified cryptography

March 30, 2015

Stanford computer scientist and electrical engineer Dan Boneh has been selected to receive the 2014 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for technical contributions that have made cryptography easier to use.

“Boneh has produced new directions and given the field a fresh start,” said ACM President Alexander L. Wolf. “He has added greatly to our understanding of important problems underlying modern cryptography systems.”

The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award recognizes innovations by young computer scientists and system developers. Boneh, the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the School of Engineering and a professor of computer science and electrical engineering, was honored for developing the algorithms that have helped establish the field of pairings-based cryptography.

One approach that shows how pairings can be applied is called identity-based encryption. Encrypting a document involves software that uses one key to encode text and a second key to ensure that only the designated recipient can decode it. Identity-based encryption simplifies the creation of coding keys by treating the recipient’s email address as a coding key. Anyone can use the software to encode a document and send it to that email address knowing that only the recipient, in possession of the decoding key, can decrypt the document.

Boneh co-developed an efficient approach to identity-based encryption with Matt Franklin, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis. Their efforts have spawned industry standards and companies including Voltage Security Inc., which was started by Boneh and his students. It has since been acquired by Hewlett-Packard.

“Boneh has helped forge connections between academic and commercial cryptography, helping improve commercial products while increasing the relevance of academic research,” said Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys. “His innovations made foundational contributions to both theoretical cryptography and cybersecurity.”

An Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and Packard Fellow, Boneh received the Gödel Prize and the RSA Conference Award for Mathematics. He earned a BA in computer science from The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and MA and PhD degrees in computer science from Princeton University.

The award, which comes with a $175,000 prize from the Infosys Foundation, will be presented in June at a banquet in San Francisco.