PORTLAND, Ore.—Cryptography pioneers Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were named the 2013 recipients of the Turing Award, an annual award given for technical contributions to computing.
Goldwasser and Micali are widely credited with laying the foundations for modern encryption algorithms with statistics-based "provable security." Before Goldwasser and Micali, cyptographers thought they had to create absolute security by using secret code-books that held the keys to decode encrypted data transmissions. However, Goldwasser and Micali championed the concept of computational security that instead depends on difficult calculations that could be proven to provide variable levels of security, depending on the needs of each application.
As a result, today many different encryption algorithms have been invented to provide password security, transaction security, Internet communications security, message integrity checks, identity authentication, digital signatures, forgery/tampering detection, electronic voting security and more. Many novel concepts which are commonplace today were introduced by Goldwasser and Micali, such as "zero-knowledge" proofs that allow cryptographers to speak about the level of security in systems without revealing information that could be used to defeat them.
Today Goldwasser is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, principle investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab as well as a professor computer science and applied mathematics at the Wiezmann Institute of Science (Israel).
Goldwasser has also won the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)'s Grace Murray Hopper Award and the Gödel Prize(twice) as well as the IEEE's Piore Award and the Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.
Shafi Goldwasser (left) and Silvio Micali of MIT.
Micali is currently the Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT, principle investigator at the MIT's CSAIL, recipient of the ACM's Gödel Prize, the RSA Mathematics Award, the Berkeley Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the Information Security Executive new England Rising Star Award and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering.
The Turing Award an annual prize given by ACM to "an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community." It provides a $250,000 prize to each recipient with financial support provided by Intel and Google.