Shafi Goldwasser

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Shafi Goldwasser
Shafi Goldwasser.JPG
Shafrira Goldwasser

NationalityIsraeli American
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science, cryptography
ThesisProbabilistic Encryption: Theory and Applications (1984)
Doctoral advisorManuel Blum[3]
Doctoral students

Shafrira "Shafi" Goldwasser (Hebrew: שפרירה גולדווסר‎) is an American-Israeli computer scientist and winner of the Turing Award in 2012. She is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT,[4] a professor of mathematical sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, co-founder and chief scientist of Duality Technologies[5] and the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing in Berkeley, CA.[6][7][8][9]


Born 1958 in New York City, Goldwasser obtained her B.S. (1979) in mathematics and science from Carnegie Mellon University, and M.S. (1981) and PhD (1984) in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley under the supervision of Manuel Blum, who is well known for advising some of the most prominent researchers in the field. She joined MIT in 1983, and in 1997 became the first holder of the RSA Professorship. She became a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, concurrent to her professorship at MIT, in 1993. She is a member of the Theory of Computation group at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.[10] Goldwasser was a co-recipient of the 2012 Turing Award.[11] On January 1, 2018, Goldwasser became the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley.[12]

Since November 2016, Goldwasser is Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Duality Technologies, an Israeli-American start-up which offers secure data analytics using advanced cryptographic techniques.[5] She is also a scientific advisor for several technology start ups in the security area, including QED-it, specializing in the Zero Knowledge Blockchain, and Algorand, a Proof-of-stake Blockchain.

Scientific career[edit]

Goldwasser's research areas include computational complexity theory, cryptography and computational number theory. She is the co-inventor of probabilistic encryption,[13] which set up and achieved the gold standard for security for data encryption. She is the co-inventor of zero-knowledge proofs, which probabilistically and interactively demonstrate the validity of an assertion without conveying any additional knowledge, and are a key tool in the design of cryptographic protocols. Her work in complexity theory includes the classification of approximation problems, showing that some problems in NP remain hard even when only an approximate solution is needed,[14] and pioneering methods for delegating computations to untrusted servers.[15] Her work in number theory includes the invention with Joe Kilian of primality proving using elliptic curves.[16]


Goldwasser was awarded the 2012 Turing Award along with Silvio Micali for their work in the field of cryptography.[17] Goldwasser has twice won the Gödel Prize in theoretical computer science: first in 1993 (for "The knowledge complexity of interactive proof systems"),[18] and again in 2001 (for "Interactive Proofs and the Hardness of Approximating Cliques").[19] Other awards include the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (1996) for outstanding young computer professional of the year and the RSA Award for Excellence in Mathematics (1998) for outstanding mathematical contributions to cryptography. In 2001 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2004 she was elected to the National Academy of Science, and in 2005 to the National Academy of Engineering. She was selected as an IACR Fellow in 2007. Goldwasser received the 2008-2009 Athena Lecturer Award of the Association for Computing Machinery's Committee on Women in Computing.[20] She is the recipient of The Franklin Institute's 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.[21] She received the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award in 2011. She received the 2018 Frontier of Knowledge award together with Micali, Rivest and Shamir.[22] She was elected as an ACM Fellow in 2017.[23] In 2018, she was awarded an honorary degree by her alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University.[24]

Goldwasser is featured in the Notable Women in Computing cards.[25]


  1. ^ Goldwasser, S.; Micali, S.; Rivest, R. L. (1988). "A Digital Signature Scheme Secure Against Adaptive Chosen-Message Attacks". SIAM Journal on Computing. 17 (2): 281. CiteSeerX doi:10.1137/0217017.
  2. ^ Savage, N. (2013). "Proofs probable: Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali laid the foundations for modern cryptography, with contributions including interactive and zero-knowledge proofs". Communications of the ACM. 56 (6): 22. doi:10.1145/2461256.2461265.
  3. ^ a b Shafi Goldwasser at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ "Shafi Goldwasser | MIT CSAIL". Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  5. ^ a b "About - Duality Technologies". Duality Technologies. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  6. ^ Exponent: Shafi Goldwasser Archived September 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Shafi Goldwasser author profile page at the ACM Digital Library
  8. ^ Shafi Goldwasser's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Goldwasser, S.; Micali, S. (1984). "Probabilistic encryption". Journal of Computer and System Sciences. 28 (2): 270. doi:10.1016/0022-0000(84)90070-9.
  10. ^ Shafi Goldwasser Biography.
  11. ^ AbAbazorius, CSAIL (13 March 2013). "Goldwasser and Micali win Turing Award". MIT News.
  12. ^ "Shafi Goldwasser appointed director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing". 10 October 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Probabilistic Encryption" (PDF). Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Interactive Proofs and the Hardness of Approximating Cliques" (PDF). Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  15. ^ Goldwasser, Shafi; Kalai, Yael Tauman; Rothblum, Guy (1 January 2008). "Delegating computation: interactive proofs for muggles". Microsoft Research. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Primality Testing Using Elliptic Curves - Semantic Scholar". 1999. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Goldwasser, Micali Receive ACM Turing Award for Advances in Cryptography". ACM. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  18. ^ Goldwasser, S.; Micali, S.; Rackoff, C. (1985). "The knowledge complexity of interactive proof-systems". Proceedings of the seventeenth annual ACM symposium on Theory of computing - STOC '85. p. 291. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/22145.22178. ISBN 978-0897911511.
  19. ^ Feige, U.; Goldwasser, S.; Lovász, L.; Safra, S.; Szegedy, M. (1996). "Interactive proofs and the hardness of approximating cliques". Journal of the ACM. 43 (2): 268–292. doi:10.1145/226643.226652.
  20. ^ "Home".
  21. ^ News Office (21 October 2009). "Goldwasser, Stubbe named Franklin Institute laureates". MIT News.
  22. ^ "homepage - Premios Fronteras". Premios Fronteras. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  23. ^ ACM Recognizes 2017 Fellows for Making Transformative Contributions and Advancing Technology in the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery, December 11, 2017, retrieved 2017-11-13
  24. ^ University, Carnegie Mellon. "Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients - Leadership - Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  25. ^ "Notable Women in Computing".