NTT Research to Collaborate with UCLA and Georgetown on Cryptography and Blockchain

NTT Research CIS Lab Focused on Information Security Announces Two Joint Research Agreements

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#BayAreaNTT Research, Inc., a division of NTT (TYO:9432), today announced that its Cryptography and Information Security (CIS) Lab has reached joint research agreements with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Georgetown University. The five-year agreement with UCLA covers research on the theoretical aspects of cryptography, and the three-year agreement with Georgetown University will take advantage of a global scale testbed for research into blockchain. Both involve the use of mathematical theory to prove security levels and enable greater system reliability.

One of three divisions at NTT Research, the CIS Lab is engaged in basic research of cryptography with the potential for long-term impact. Directed by NTT Fellow Tatsuaki Okamoto, the CIS Lab is focused on foundational research problems in cryptography and blockchain. Dr. Okamoto, a renowned expert in cryptography, will supervise the research. NTT Research Distinguished Scientist Brent Waters, who heads the CIS Lab’s cryptography research group, will be involved in the collaboration with UCLA. The principal investigator at UCLA is Dr. Amit Sahai, professor of computer science at the Samueli School of Engineering. A recognized global blockchain expert, Dr. Shinichiro Matsuo, a research professor at Georgetown University who heads the blockchain research group at Cyber SMART at Georgetown, and heads the CIS Lab’s blockchain group at NTT Research, will be involved in the joint research on blockchain. Cyber SMART is the new cross-discipline cyber research center at Georgetown that adheres to the standards and requirements of the National Science Foundation’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) Program.

“These agreements reflect our commitment to engage and work with the strongest and most dedicated researchers, as well as our focus on foundational research problems,” said CIS Lab Director Okamoto. “Our collaboration with UCLA will complement the important basic research that Brent Waters has undertaken, and our planned work with Georgetown is a good example of our openness to exploring security in relatively new use case and test scenarios.”

The scope of work for the five-year agreement with UCLA covers advanced secure cryptosystems, secure protocols, new sources of hardness, and mathematical foundations of cryptography. In addition to his role as professor of computer science, Dr. Sahai is also director of the Center for Encrypted Functionalities at UCLA. Professor Sahai has published more than 100 original technical research papers and has contributed in the areas of obfuscation, functional encryption, zero-knowledge proofs and secure multi-party computation.

“NTT’s commitment to fundamental research is evident in their generous support, and we are very grateful that they share our vision,” said Professor Sahai. “This grant will enable our explorations of the boundary between the possible and the impossible with regards to cryptography. We’ll be able to answer difficult questions, and then turn that new knowledge into innovative applications in information security.”

NTT Research actively explores opportunities to work with experts in its three fields of study. Last fall it entered an Industrial Partnership between its CIS Lab and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley; set up joint research agreements between its Physics and Informatics (PHI) Lab and six universities (CalTech, Cornell, Michigan, MIT, Stanford and Swinburne), one US Federal Agency (NASA’s Ames Research Center) and one private quantum computing software company (1QBit); and reached a joint research agreement between its Medical and Informatics (MEI) Lab and the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

About NTT Research

NTT Research opened its Palo Alto offices in July 2019 as a new Silicon Valley startup to conduct basic research and advance technologies that promote positive change for humankind. Currently, three labs are housed at NTT Research: the Physics and Informatics (PHI) Lab, the Cryptography and Information Security (CIS) Lab, and the Medical and Health Informatics (MEI) Lab. The organization aims to upgrade reality in three areas: 1) quantum information, neuro-science and photonics; 2) cryptographic and information security; and 3) medical and health informatics. NTT Research is part of NTT, a global technology and business solutions provider with an annual R&D budget of $3.6 billion.

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