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Computer Science Colloquia

Monday, April 1, 2013
Mohammad Mahmoody
Host: Dave Evans

3:30 PM, Rice Hall, Room 130 (auditorium), followed by a reception in Rice Hall Fourth Floor Atrium (west end)

On Tamper-Resilient Cryptography


Cryptographic protocols enable secure implementations of electronic voting, electronic auctions, private data-base queries etc. Ever since the work of Shannon in 1940s, however, cryptographic security has been based on unproven complexity theoretic assumptions (e.g., the hardness of factoring). Furthermore, proofs of security implicitly rely on physical tamper-resilience assumptions. In this talk, we address the questions of whether such assumptions are necessary.

1. Without tamper-resilient hardware, cryptographic protocols can be broken by tampering with a few bits of the randomness used by honest parties. Thus, to obtain secure protocols, some form of tamper-resilient hardware is *necessary.*

2. On the other hand, if we assume the existence of tamper resilient hardware, secure protocols (for all the above mentioned tasks and more) can be *unconditionally* achieved, without relying on any unproven assumptions.

Biosketch: Mohammad Mahmoody is currently a postdoc at Cornell University. He received his PhD from Princeton University where he was a recipient of the Wu Price for Excellence. Mohammad is interested in theoretical computer science, and his main research interests lie in cryptography and its interplay with computational complexity.

*Mr. Mahmoody is a faculty candidate for the Department of Computer Science.