Cynthia Dwork is one of the world's most recognized researchers in the areas of fault-tolerant distributed systems and strong cryptography. His studies, in addition to helping in the fight against “spam ", have been central to the creation of Bitcoin several decades later.

Ethe name of Cynthia Dwork is another of the big names in the world of computing and cryptography. Dwork was born in the year 1958 in the United States and is the daughter of the renowned American mathematician Bernard Dwork.

Dwork has spent his entire life researching and developing complex algorithmic, mathematical, and computer systems. Developments, which laid the foundations for many systems currently used in the computer world. And not only that, they were also the origin for the development of electronic money and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Cynthia Dwork: early career

Dwork's long career began shortly after graduating from Princeton University in 1979. Back then, Dwork would begin what would be her extensive career as a researcher. His first job and publication was with Stephen Cook in the year of 1982 and under the name of "Time limits of parallel RAM to calculate simple functions". With this work, Dwork would begin to outline his interest in the area of ​​parallel computing, high performance, systems Byzantine fault tolerant and cryptography.

cynthia dwork drinking coffee

Later in 1983, Dwork with Danny Dolev would present another of the works that would mark his legacy, "On the minimum synchronism necessary for distributed consensus".

From this study, Dwork focused his interest in fault tolerant systems. Hence, their research in this field is essential for the creation of systems Byzantine fault tolerant. In fact, They promoted the development of distributed and decentralized systems creating the bases to program their operating protocols.

That same year in 1983, Dwork received his PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University. The title was the culmination of a work called "Limits of Fundamental Problems in Parallel and Distributed Computing". This work opened Dwork's long career path to success.

Interest in computer privacy

Alongside his research in the fields of fault-tolerant and distributed systems development, Dwork devoted efforts to protecting privacy and privacy. cryptography strong. The mid-80s was a time when concepts like that of the Internet were beginning to appear in the minds of researchers. At the time, the need for privacy for its millions of potential users was emerging as an unforeseen emergency.

Dwork did not miss the opportunity and did various jobs in this area. The first of them came to light when it was published in 1988 under the name "Zero knowledge with finite state verifiers". With this work, Dwork carried out extensive research on the zero knowledge interactive testing systems. This created a further precedent on the capacity of these systems and the security they provide.

Later in 1990, Dwork would present two more papers on strong crypto. The first of them was "Firm Exchange of Verifiable Secrets". With this work, Dwork united his passions: distributed systems, Byzantine fault tolerance and cryptography. It was one of the first works of such magnitude in this regard. Then I would see the light "Perfectly Secure Message Transmission".

The 90s was highly proliferating for Dwork in the crypto field presenting works such as "Non-Malleable Cryptography" (1991). Later that year he would be out "About verification in the secret exchange."

During these years, Dwork would work for greats in the industry like IBM y Microsoft. Of the latter, Dwork is still part of his large group of technology researchers.

A job that would change everything

Dwork and his prolific investigations were very helpful amid the increasing growth of computer technology worldwide. In the midst of the internet and email boom, Dwork did a job with a very specific and useful task: stopping spam. Spam was an annoying practice that companies and individuals used to send large amounts of spam or junk. In times when there were not many filters to control this activity, it was very annoying for those who used email as a regular tool.

However in 1992 Dwork together with Moni Naor published "Charging for processing or fighting against spam". In this work, Dwork and Naor describe a method to stop spam by means of a "work test" It was the first such work aimed at solving the problem of spam. At the time, the idea went completely unnoticed, until 1997 when Adam Back, took the idea of ​​Dwork and Naor and turned it into Hashcash.

With this work from Back, the world of spam would begin to transform and the foundations of something much bigger would begin to be built.

The beginning of the new millennium

The arrival of the new millennium kept Dwork on the job. During the first decade of the new millennium Dwork presents several works among which stand out:

  1. Non-malleable cryptography (Cynthia Dwork, Danny Dolev, and Moni Naor, 2000)
  2. Immunizing encryption schemes for decryption errors. (Cynthia Dwork, Moni Naor, Omer Reingold, 2004)
  3. On the private preservation of histograms. (Shuchi Chawla, Cynthia Dwork, Frank McSherry, Kunal Talwar, 2005)
  4. Pebbles and Proof of Work. (Cynthia Dwork, Moni Naor, Hoeteck Wee, 2005)
  5. Differential privacy (2006)

During the second decade of the new millennium, Dwork has been focused primarily on privacy studies. The creation of tools that help maintain it in the digital age we are in. This has earned Dwork wide and deep worldwide recognition in different areas, especially in cryptography and digital privacy.

Cynthia Dwork pioneer of the Proof of Work

Recognition of their work

With 158 works signed to date, Dwork has managed to achieve different and varied recognitions for his work, including:

  1. Charles Ira Young Recognition and Medal for Excellence in Independent Research, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Princeton University, 1979.
  2. Edsger W. Dijkstra Award, 2007
  3. Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected in 2008.
  4. Member of the National Academy of Engineering, elected in 2008.
  5. PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancement Technologies, 2009
  6. Member of the National Academy of Sciences, elected in 2014.
  7. Association of Computing Machinery, promoted in 2015.
  8. Member of the American Philosophical Society, elected in 2016.
  9. Member of the Association of Computing Machinery, elected in 2016.
  10. Theory of Cryptography Test of Time Award, 2016

Today, Cynthia Dwork is still active as a researcher at both Microsoft and Harvard University, and is also part of the team of researchers at the Alan Turing Institute.