Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Chris Peikert Named First-Ever Patrick C. Fischer Development Professor

Chris Peikert

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Associate Professor Chris Peikert has been named the first-ever Patrick C. Fischer Development Professor in Theoretical Computer Science.

Peikert’s research is dedicated to developing new, stronger mathematical foundations for cryptography, with a particular focus on geometric objects called lattices.  Lattices yield cryptographic schemes having unique and attractive properties, such as apparent immunity to quantum attacks, and high levels of efficiency and parallelism.  Over the past several years, his efforts have made substantial progress toward realizing the full potential of lattices in cryptography, by strengthening the theoretical foundations of the area, designing new cryptographic constructions that enjoy rich functionality and strong security properties, and making lattice cryptography efficient and practical.

Recently, Google announced it is testing post-quantum cryptography in Chrome using an algorithm created by Peikert and his collaborators. A small fraction of connections between desktop Chrome and Google's servers are using the post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm that would typically be used. Google’s aim is to gain real-world experience with the larger data structures that post-quantum algorithms will likely require.

Prof. Peikert received his PhD in Computer Science from MIT in 2006 and he joined CSE in Fall 2015 from the faculty of Georgia Institute of Technology. Among several other recognitions of his scholarly contributions, Peikert has received a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Bergmann Memorial Research Award, and Best Paper awards at EUROCRYPT and STOC.

About the Patrick C. Fischer Development Professorship

Professor Charlotte Fischer, emerita professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University, endowed this professorship in her late husband’s name. An alumnus of Michigan, Patrick C. Fischer was an expert in computational complexity, interactive database systems, and informational systems for education institutions. His work in theoretical computer science helped make Internet searches possible. Prof. Fischer served on the faculty at Harvard, Cornell, Waterloo, Pennsylvania State, and at Vanderbilt, where he was chair of the computer science department from 1980-1995.

Posted: March 27, 2017