Faculty Candidate Seminar

A Mathematical Approach to Hiding Secrets in Software

Prabhanjan Ananth

Thursday, February 21, 2019
10:30am - 11:30am
3725 Beyster

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About the Event

Program obfuscation is a mechanism to transform any computer program into an uninterpretable one that doesn't reveal any information about the description of the original program beyond its input-output behavior. This powerful notion, regarded as a 'crypto-complete' primitive, has had a tremendous impact, yielding several consequential results in cryptography and also hardness results in game theory and differential privacy. In light of these influential results, constructing program obfuscation is considered an important problem in cryptography.

For the past few years, there has been an active effort by cryptographers to build program obfuscation. All the constructions of program obfuscation relied on the security of recently introduced complex mathematical tools, whose security has been called into question by recent cryptanalytic attacks. In this talk, I will present the first construction of program obfuscation that can be based on 'simple-to-state' cryptographic assumptions, avoiding the use of complex mathematical tools employed in all prior constructions of program obfuscation.


Prabhanjan Ananth is a postdoctoral associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He previously obtained a Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles where he was the recipient of Simons Award for graduate students in theoretical computer science and Symantec Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award. He previously completed Master's from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru where he was awarded the Dr. M. N. S. Swamy Medal for best Master's thesis. He works on theoretical aspects of cryptography and his current research is focused on program obfuscation and secure multiparty computation.

Additional Information

Sponsor(s): CSE

Open to: Public