Bangalore, India, April 01, 2015: ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, (www.acm.org) and the Infosys Foundation announced today that Dan Boneh is the recipient of the 2014 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for his contributions to the ground-breaking development of pairing-based cryptography and its application in identity-based encryption. His work helped establish the field of pairing-based cryptography, a dominant area in cryptography for the last decade, by demonstrating the use of pairing functions to solve wide variety of problems in cryptography. Boneh, with Matt Franklin, showed how pairings could be used to develop a fully functional identity-based encryption scheme (IBE). This ushered in a new area of cryptography research to which Boneh’s contributions have been central. Pairing-based cryptography makes security mechanisms easier to use and deploy, and improves computer security to keep data, devices and critical systems safe, private and accessible.
The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award recognizes the finest recent innovations by young scientists and system developers in the computing field. An endowment from the Infosys Foundation provides financial support for the $175,000 annual award. ACM will present the ACM Infosys Foundation Award at its annual awards banquet on June 20 in San Francisco.
ACM President Alexander L. Wolf said, “Boneh’s work on pairing functions and their application to identity-based encryption has revolutionized cryptography. He has added greatly to our understanding of important problems underlying modern cryptography systems. Boneh has produced new directions and given the field a fresh start.”
Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys, said, “Boneh has helped forge connections between academic and commercial cryptography, helping improve commercial products while increasing the relevance of academic research. His innovations made foundational contributions to both theoretical cryptography and cybersecurity.”
Boneh pioneered the use of new computational problems based on pairings to solve a broad range of problems in cryptography. This approach, called pairing-based cryptography, relies on complex problems arising from algebraic geometry (bilinear maps based on elliptic curves). Pairing-based cryptography has had tremendous academic and commercial impact.
Boneh demonstrated how pairings could be used to solve long-standing open problems in cryptography. Pairing-based cryptography, now a mainstream tool in cryptography, has generated a large volume of research activity showing entirely new capabilities as well as solutions that are superior in functionality to ones already in use.
Identity-based encryption is a type of public-key encryption in which any arbitrary string (such as a user’s email address) can be used as a public key, enabling data to be protected without the need for long, randomly generated keys or certificates. Today, there are numerous standards for IBE based on Boneh’s work, including IEEE P1363.3 and several IETF RFCs.
In addition to pairing-based cryptography, Boneh developed cryptosystems with novel properties, mechanisms for enhancing Web security and security for mobile devices. He developed new privacy tools, contributed to the study of cryptographic watermarking and runs a popular MOOC on cryptography.