The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has chosen Professor Amit Sahai to become an AMS Fellow in recognition of his “outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.” This is a terrific honor and a testament to the far-reaching and revolutionary impact of Amit’s research.
Amit is the first faculty with a primary appointment in Computer Science at UCLA to be named an AMS Fellow as well as the first UCLA CS faculty member to be both a Fellow of the ACM and the AMS. Professor Sahai also has a courtesy appointment as a Professor of Mathematics at UCLA.
Prior to this recognition, Amit’s contributions to indistinguishability obfuscation (IO) have been celebrated with an extensive array of honors. Just two weeks ago, Amit received the 2023 FOCS Test of Time Award from the top conference in theoretical computer science. Last year, Amit delivered an invited lecture on his breakthrough at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), which is the most prestigious venue in mathematics (that’s where the Fields Medals are awarded every four years, for example). Amit’s work on IO was celebrated with the National Academy of Sciences Held Prize, a Best Paper Award at STOC 2021, an invited tutorial at FOCS 2020, a Simons workshop, and an invited “lifetime accomplishments of significant scholars” talk at Harvard’s Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications (CMSA).
Amit’s work on IO tackles the deep and important question: “Is it possible to keep a secret from a mind-reading adversary?” Amit not only gave the first solution that achieves IO but also showed that IO solves the central open problem in a so-called functional encryption. His contribution generated a tremendous amount of follow-up research, showing that IO can be utilized to achieve a myriad of objectives in cryptography for which no other approach was known.