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DARPA Funds Bristol Cryptographic Research

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25 February 2011

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Last week Prof. Nigel Smart was at a meeting in San Antonio (Texas), where he was attending the kick-off meeting for a new exciting project we are involved in. The project, to investigate aspects of Fully Homomorphic Encryption, is funded by the US governments Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of its PROCEED (PROgramming Computation on EncryptEd Data) effort.

DARPA was founded in 1958, originally named ARPA, and has over the years invested in a number of ground breaking new technologies. In Computer Science these have ranged from the Internet itself (originally called ARPANET), to modern operating systems (via the Multics system), through to the GPS Global Positioning System.

The project we are involved with aims to develop technologies for computing on encrypted data on remote computers, as securely as if it were on your own machine. If successful the project will enable ground breaking new information security applications such as cloud based spam filtering, secure database queries (such as needed for medical databases), and statistical pooling of data across organizational boundaries without compromising privacy.

Our contribution is to provide input into the mathematical foundations underlying this new area. The grant will help us build on the success of our recent work in this area as exemplified by our work on Fully Homomorphic Encryption, and the EU funded CACE project. It is particularly timely due to the Dagstuhl seminar we are co-organizing on this topic later in the year.