Visible to the public CAREER: The Theoretical Foundations of Symmetric CryptographyConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details

Performance Period

Dec 15, 2018 - Feb 28, 2022


University of Washington


National Science Foundation

Award Number

Cryptography is essential to ensure confidentiality and integrity of information. Due to their practicality, symmetric algorithms where the same secret key is used by the sender and the recipient underlie most practical deployments of cryptographic techniques. However, also as a result of this, symmetric cryptography suffers from an inherent tension between real world efficiency demands and provable security guarantees. This project investigates new technical advances aimed at narrowing the gap between provable security and the practical demands of symmetric cryptography.

The project develops new cryptographic algorithms and proof techniques, drawing from techniques in theoretical computer science, applied mathematics, and information theory. This involves the study of combinatorial problems whose solutions yield security proofs for existing and new encryption paradigms, and the development of new provably secure methods to encrypt data from arbitrary domains. The project identifies widely deployed cryptographic methods without provable security guarantees, introduces new assumptions on their components and new frameworks to validate their security with proofs, and explores the tradeoff between efficiency and security of symmetric cryptographic algorithms. The project will organize an annual cryptography academy targeted at economically disadvantaged high-school students, to increase their interest and representation in computing.

Continuation of Award #: 1553758