ABOUT THIS AWARD
Presented annually to the author(s) of the best doctoral dissertation(s) in computer science and engineering. The Doctoral Dissertation Award is accompanied by a prize of $20,000, and the Honorable Mention Award is accompanied by a prize of $10,000. Financial sponsorship of the award is provided by Google. Winning dissertations will be published by ACM in the ACM Digital Library.
Sanjam Garg, Innovator of Breakthrough Cyptography Technology Wins 2013 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award
Sanjam Garg won the 2013 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for developing tools that enable the first secure solution to the problem of making computer program code “unintelligible” while preserving its functionality. This problem, known as software obfuscation, conceals the program’s purpose or its logic in order to prevent tampering, deter reverse engineering, or as a challenge to readers of the source code. His approach makes it impossible to reverse-engineer the obfuscated software without solving mathematical problems that could take hundreds of years to work out on today’s computers.
Garg, a Josef Raviv Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, completed his dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles, which nominated him. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, he will receive the Doctoral Dissertation Award and its $20,000 prize at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on June 21, in San Francisco. Financial sponsorship of the award is provided by Google Inc.
In his dissertation “Candidate Multilinear Maps,” Garg described new mathematical tools that serve as key ingredients for transforming a program into a “jigsaw puzzle” of encrypted pieces. Corresponding to each input is a unique set of puzzle pieces that, when assembled, reveal the output of the program. Security of the obfuscated program hinges on the fact that illegitimate combinations of the puzzle pieces do not reveal anything.
Honorable Mention for the 2013 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award went to Grey Ballard of Sandia National Laboratories and Shayan Oveis Gharan of the University of California, Berkeley. They will share a $10,000 prize, with financial sponsorship provided by Google Inc.
MIT Doctoral Candidate Designed First WiFi Receivers that Reconstruct Transmitted Information to Improve Performance and Security
Shyamnath Gollakota has won the 2012 Doctoral Dissertation Award for designing practical systems that transform wireless systems by embracing the phenomenon of interference and rendering it harmless. Instead of trying to hide the interference that severely limits wireless systems, he used an alternate approach that successfully reconstructed the traditional packets of transmitted information. He then manipulated the interfering signals using innovative receiver designs that decode the WiFi collisions and improve security. Gollakota, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, completed the dissertation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which nominated him. The award carries a $20,000 prize.
Honorable Mentions for the 2012 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award went to Peter Hawkins, nominated by Stanford University and Gregory Valiant, nominated by the University of California, Berkeley. They share a $10,000 prize.
Financial sponsorship of the award is provided by Google Inc.