Shafrira Goldwasser (Hebrew: שפרירה גולדווסר; born 1959[5]) is an Israeli-American computer scientist and winner of the Turing Award in 2012. She is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology;[6] a professor of mathematical sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel; the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley; and co-founder and chief scientist of Duality Technologies.[7][8][9][10][11]

Shafi Goldwasser
Shafi Goldwasser in 2010
Hebrew: שפרירה גולדווסר
English: Shafrira Goldwasser

1959 (age 64–65)
New York City, New York, U.S.
NationalityIsraeli American
Alma materCarnegie Mellon University (BS)
University of California, Berkeley (MS, PhD)
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science, cryptography
ThesisProbabilistic Encryption: Theory and Applications (1984)
Doctoral advisorManuel Blum[3]
Doctoral students Edit this at Wikidata

Education and early life


Born in New York City, Goldwasser obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 1979 in mathematics and science from Carnegie Mellon. She continued her studies in computer science at Berkeley, receiving a Master of Science degree in 1981 and a PhD in 1984. While at Berkeley, she and her doctoral advisor, Manuel Blum, would propose the Blum-Goldwasser cryptosystem.[3]

Career and research


Goldwasser joined MIT in 1983, and in 1997 became the first holder of the RSA Professorship. She became a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, concurrent to her professorship at MIT, in 1993. She is a member of the theory of computation group at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.[12] In 2005, Goldwasser was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to cryptography, number theory, and complexity theory, and their applications to privacy and security,[13] and in 2006, Berkeley awarded her its Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award.

Goldwasser was a co-recipient of the 2012 Turing Award for "revolutionizing the science of cryptography".[14]

Since November 2016, Goldwasser has been serving as the chief scientist and co-Founder of Duality Technologies, a US-based start-up which offers secure data analytics using advanced cryptographic techniques.[15] She is also a scientific advisor for several technology startups in the security area, including QED-it, specializing in the Zero Knowledge Blockchain, and Algorand, a pure proof-of-stake blockchain.[16]

On January 1, 2018, she became the director of Berkeley's Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.[17]

Goldwasser's research areas include computational complexity theory, cryptography and computational number theory. She is the co-inventor of probabilistic encryption,[18] which set up and achieved the gold standard for security for data encryption.

Goldwasser is a co-inventor of zero-knowledge proofs, which probabilistically and interactively demonstrate the validity of an assertion without conveying any additional knowledge, and are a key tool in the design of cryptographic protocols. Her work in complexity theory includes the classification of approximation problems, showing that some problems in NP remain hard even when only an approximate solution is needed,[19] and pioneering methods for delegating computations to untrusted servers.[20] Her work in number theory includes the invention with Joe Kilian of primality proving using elliptic curves.[21] Goldwasser is also a lead on Project CETI, an interdisciplinary initiative for translating the communication of sperm whales.[22]

Awards and honors


Goldwasser was awarded the 2012 Turing Award along with Silvio Micali for their work in the field of cryptography.[23]

Goldwasser has twice won the Gödel Prize in theoretical computer science: first in 1993 (for "The knowledge complexity of interactive proof systems"),[24] and again in 2001 (for Interactive Proofs and the Hardness of Approximating Cliques).[25] Other awards include the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (1996) for outstanding young computer professional of the year and the RSA Award for Excellence in Mathematics (1998) for outstanding mathematical contributions to cryptography. In 2001 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2002 she gave a plenary lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Beijing.[26] In 2004 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2005 to the National Academy of Engineering. She was selected as an IACR Fellow in 2007. Goldwasser received the 2008–2009 Athena Lecturer Award of the Association for Computing Machinery's Committee on Women in Computing.[27] She is the recipient of The Franklin Institute's 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.[28] She received the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award in 2011.[29] She received the 2018 Frontier of Knowledge award together with Micali, Rivest and Shamir.[30]

Goldwasser was elected as an ACM Fellow in 2017.[31] In July 2017, she was a plenary lecturer in the Mathematical Congress of the Americas.[32]

In 2018, Goldwasser was awarded an honorary degree by her alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University.[33] On 26 June 2019 Goldwasser was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the University of Oxford.[34]

Goldwasser is featured in the Notable Women in Computing cards.[35] She won the Suffrage Science award in 2016.[2] She was on the Mathematical Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2020.[36] She was awarded the 2021 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award in Computer Science.[37]


  1. ^ Savage, N. (2013). "Proofs probable: Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali laid the foundations for modern cryptography, with contributions including interactive and zero-knowledge proofs". Communications of the ACM. 56 (6): 22. doi:10.1145/2461256.2461265. S2CID 26769891.
  2. ^ a b "Suffrage Science Maths and Computing 2016".
  3. ^ a b c Shafi Goldwasser at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ Goldwasser, S.; Micali, S.; Rivest, R. L. (1988). "A Digital Signature Scheme Secure Against Adaptive Chosen-Message Attacks". SIAM Journal on Computing. 17 (2): 281. CiteSeerX doi:10.1137/0217017. S2CID 1715998.
  5. ^ Charles Rackoff (March 13, 2012). ""Shafi Goldwasser - A.M. Turing Award Laureates"". ACM.
  6. ^ "Shafi Goldwasser | MIT CSAIL". Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "About – Duality Technologies". Duality Technologies. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Hirsch, Deborah (December 16, 2012). "Jewish 6-year-old Youngest of Newtown Shooting Victims". Archived from the original on September 27, 2010.
  9. ^ Shafi Goldwasser author profile page at the ACM Digital Library
  10. ^ Shafi Goldwasser's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Goldwasser, S.; Micali, S. (1984). "Probabilistic encryption". Journal of Computer and System Sciences. 28 (2): 270. doi:10.1016/0022-0000(84)90070-9.
  12. ^ Shafi Goldwasser Biography – via
  13. ^ "Dr. Shafrira Goldwasser". NAE Website. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  14. ^ AbAbazorius, CSAIL (March 13, 2013). "Goldwasser and Micali win Turing Award". MIT News.
  15. ^ "About – Duality Technologies". Duality Technologies. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "Team".
  17. ^ "Shafi Goldwasser appointed director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing". October 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "Probabilistic Encryption" (PDF). Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  19. ^ "Interactive Proofs and the Hardness of Approximating Cliques" (PDF). Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  20. ^ Goldwasser, Shafi; Kalai, Yael Tauman; Rothblum, Guy (January 1, 2008). "Delegating computation: interactive proofs for muggles". Microsoft Research: 113–122. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  21. ^ Goldwasser, Shafi; Kilian, Joe (July 1999). "Primality testing using elliptic curves". Journal of the ACM. 46 (4): 450–472. doi:10.1145/320211.320213. S2CID 12453179.
  22. ^ Welch, Craig (April 19, 2021). "Groundbreaking effort launched to decode whale language". National Geographic Society. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on April 19, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  23. ^ "Goldwasser, Micali Receive ACM Turing Award for Advances in Cryptography". ACM. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  24. ^ Goldwasser, S.; Micali, S.; Rackoff, C. (1985). "The knowledge complexity of interactive proof-systems". Proceedings of the seventeenth annual ACM symposium on Theory of computing – STOC '85. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). p. 291. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/22145.22178. ISBN 978-0897911511. S2CID 8689051.
  25. ^ Feige, U.; Goldwasser, S.; Lovász, L.; Safra, S.; Szegedy, M. (1996). "Interactive proofs and the hardness of approximating cliques". Journal of the ACM. 43 (2): 268–292. doi:10.1145/226643.226652.
  26. ^ "Plenary Speakers".
  27. ^ "Home".
  28. ^ News Office (October 21, 2009). "Goldwasser, Stubbe named Franklin Institute laureates". MIT News.
  29. ^ "IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  30. ^ "homepage – Premios Fronteras". Premios Fronteras. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  31. ^ ACM Recognizes 2017 Fellows for Making Transformative Contributions and Advancing Technology in the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery, December 11, 2017, retrieved November 13, 2017
  32. ^ "Home | Mathematical Congress of the Americas 2017".
  33. ^ University, Carnegie Mellon. "Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients – Leadership – Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  34. ^ "Honorary degree recipients for 2019 announced". The University of Oxford. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  35. ^ "Notable Women in Computing".
  36. ^ "Infosys Prize – Jury 2020". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  37. ^ "Dickenstein and Goldwasser Receive International Awards for Women in Science" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society.