Seny Kamara And Charalampos Papamanthou Win The 2022 CCS Test-Of-Time Award

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The Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) announced that Brown CS faculty member Seny Kamara and Brown CS alum and current Yale CS faculty member Charalampos Papamanthou won the CCS Test-Of-Time Award for a 2012 paper in the field of searchable encryption. At the time, Charalampos was a Brown CS PhD student advised by faculty member Roberto Tamassia, interning at Microsoft Research. Seny and co-author Tom Roeder were working at Microsoft Research.

The paper, “Dynamic Searchable Symmetric Encryption,” presented a new method for quickly and securely searching over encrypted data while allowing users to add or delete encrypted files efficiently. The paper set the stage for significant subsequent research on the topic, advancements which have been particularly important as the commercial use of encrypted databases has grown over the past decade.

While prior research had resulted in similar techniques for searching over encrypted data, those techniques had involved static databases, in which users are unable to add or remove files without reproducing the entire database — a process that is highly inefficient for large, industrial databases. In dynamic databases — the kind that Seny and Charalampos’s paper explored — files can be added, modified, or deleted individually, without having to process the other stored files.

“This recognition is quite timely given dynamic searchable encryption is currently being deployed in real-world (database) systems,” Charalampos says. “I am grateful to Seny for suggesting we pursue this research direction and for his valuable guidance, as well as to Roberto, for encouraging me to develop a diverse research agenda.”

In addition to his faculty position at Brown CS, Seny serves as a Distinguished Scientist at MongoDB, where he manages the Advanced Cryptography Research Group. Before its acquisition by MongoDB, he was co-founder and Chief Scientist at Aroki Systems; prior to that, he was a research scientist at Microsoft Research. Seny’s research in cryptography is driven by real-world problems from privacy, security and surveillance, and he has worked extensively on the design and cryptanalysis of encrypted search algorithms.

Charalampos’s research focuses on computer security and applied cryptography. Some of his current projects include verifiable and privacy-preserving computations, with applications to cloud computing security, leakage-abuse attacks on searchable encryption systems, private and scalable blockchains and cryptocurrencies, as well as building real-world privacy-preserving systems. His work is currently supported by the Algorand Foundation (through Yale's Algorand Center of Excellence), NSF, Protocol Labs, JP Morgan and VMware.

"Brown CS faculty and students have done cutting-edge research in computer security and applied cryptography for over two decades," Roberto adds. "Our impact in this important field is multiplied by the work of our amazing alums like Charalampos."

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communications Manager Jesse C. Polhemus.