Amit Sahai, University of California, Los Angeles, received the 2022 Michael and Sheila Held Prize.

Sahai is a pioneer in the development of cryptographic software obfuscation and its theoretical applications. 

Sahai’s widely cited contributions to computer science have been instrumental in developing the mathematical foundations of secure software obfuscation. He reshaped the field of cryptography by introducing the first mathematically sound method for software obfuscation, which implies a solution for almost every cryptographic problem.

His breakthroughs, starting from the initial conception of “indistinguishability obfuscation” and culminating in new constructions based upon well-founded cryptographic assumptions, highlight how computational complexity can enable secrecy while computing in insecure environments.

Sahai is a professor of computer science at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and serves as the director of the Center for Encrypted Functionalities, a National Science Foundation Frontiers Center.

The Michael and Sheila Held Prize is presented annually and honors outstanding, innovative, creative, and influential research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimization, or related parts of computer science, such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory. This $100,000 prize is intended to recognize recent work (defined as published within the last eight years). The prize was established in 2017 by the bequest of Michael and Sheila Held.


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