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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Privacy-Preserving Online Collaborations

Mikhail Atallah - Purdue University

Oct 22, 2003


One of the main impediments to increased online collaborations is the participants' reluctance to share data that they consider private or proprietary. This can be caused by fear that their counterpart will take advantage of the information in some unintended way, fear that the information will be leaked to a competitor, etc. The result of this unwillingness to share is "information asymmetry" that is well known to cause many inefficiencies. Fundamental results in cryptographic protocols indicate that the benefits of sharing can be obtained without actually having to share one's private information. The talk begins with an introduction to privacy-preserving collaborative computing, a suite of techniques that allow two (or more) parties to achieve desired system-wide goals without revealing the private information of any of the participating parties, even though the jointly-computed decisions depend on the information of all the parties. Then we illustrate the ideas involved by going through the details of a few protocols. The talk is for a general audience and is self-contained (a background in cryptography is not assumed).

About the Speaker

Mikhail (\"Mike\") Atallah obtained his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in 1982, and has been on the faculty of the Purdue University Computer Science Department since then. His current research interests are in information security (in particular, software security, secure protocols, and watermarking). He received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1985. A Fellow of the IEEE, he has served on the editorial boards of SIAM Journal on Computing, IEEE Transactions on Computers, Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, Information Processing Letters, Computational Geometry: Theory & Applications, International Journal of Computational Geometry & Applications, Parallel Processing Letters, Methods of Logic in Computer Science. He was Guest Editor for a Special Issue of Algorithmica on Computational Geometry, has served as Editor of the Handbook of Parallel and Distributed Computing (McGraw-Hill), as Editorial Advisor for the Handbook of Computer Science and Engineering, (CRC Press), and as Editor-in-Chief for Handbook of Algorithms and Theory of Computation (CRC Press). He was selected to serve on the Program Committees of various conferences and workshops (including ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry, SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, Workshop on Algorithms and Data Structures, IEEE Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Processing, IEEE International Parallel Processing Symposium, International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation, and many others). He was Keynote and Invited Speaker at many national and international meetings.

Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52 (Suite 050B), West Lafayette Campus. More information...


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