"Secure Computation over Private Data: Past, Present, and Future" by Dr. Jonathan Katz

Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:00 PM

Protocols for secure computation allow mutually distrusting parties to compute an arbitrary function of their joint data while preserving privacy of their inputs (to the extent possible), ensuring correctness, providing fault tolerance, and more. Secure computation has been suggested for such diverse applications as privacy-preserving data mining, secure information sharing, privacy in the cloud, and secure database search.

Although feasibility of generic secure computation (for arbitrary functions) was established over 25 years ago, for a long time the perception was that it was hopelessly impractical. Recent results by Dr. Katz and his colleagues indicate that this is no longer true. Dr. Katz will survey several such results, including:

- A recent framework for secure two-party computation that leads to dramatic improvements in efficiency and scalability compared to what was previously available.
- Application of this framework to the specific problem of private set intersection, which shows that generic protocols can be competitive with "specially designed" protocols for this problem.
- A relaxed (yet meaningful) security definition for security against malicious adversaries that can be achieved 100x more efficiently than in prior work.
- Work showing feasibility and practical efficacy of sublinear-time secure computation.

Jonathan Katz is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science with a joint appointment in UMIACS. He received undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from MIT in 1996, and a PhD in computer science from Columbia University in 2002. He has held visiting appointments at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA), Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris, France), and IBM (Hawthorne, NY).

Dr. Katz's research interests lie broadly in the areas of cryptography, computer and network security and complexity theory, with his most recent work focusing on secure multi-party computation, database privacy, and the science of cybersecurity. He has co-authored the textbook "Introduction to Modern Cryptography" (CRC Press, 2007) and a monograph on digital signature schemes (Springer, 2010).