One Million Pound Grant To Compute on Encrypted Data

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20 April 2011

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Bristol's Cryptography Group has secured a grant from EPSRC worth almost one million pounds to support research which will hopefully transform security applications in the future.  The grant will enable us to continue our work on Fully Homomorphic Encryption and on Multi-Party Computation. Both are forms of technology which enables one to compute on encrypted data.

The new grant is in addition to the recent announcment of a grant from the US agency DARPA for research on Fully Homomorphic Encryption. With the new EPSRC grant we will be expanding the team working on this topic, and extend the work into the related area of Multi-Party Computation. We will be soon making a number of appointments at the Post-Doc and PhD level in these areas, so if you are interested in this area please keep a watch on our vacancies list.

In the area of Fully Homomorphic Encryption we have previously helped develop the first instantiation of a partially working system. In a paper, presented at PKC 2010 in Paris, we showed how one could instantiate Gentry's breakthrough 2009 scheme by simplifying the key generation and encryption procedures. In the area of Multi-Party Computation we gave the first experimental evidence that two-party secure computation could be practically realised on relatively complex functions. Both of these breakthrough results resulted from Bristol's unique combination of theoretical and practical expertise in cryptography.

The grant also builds on our success in a recently completed EU project CACE and is related to a Dagstuhl seminar we are organizing on the same topic.

Prof. Nigel Smart who leads the Bristol team working in this area said "It is really important that the UK invests in research in this area, as the potential benefits if we can make this technology practical could be immense. However, the timeline to a useable practical realisation could be many years; thus this investment by EPSRC shows a deep understanding of the long term nature of the contribution of University research to the competitiveness of UK Plc."