Professor Sahai’s paper with his former Ph.D. student Brent Watershas been selected as one of the 10-year Test of Time Awards and will be presented at this year’s STOC in Vancouver. The citation for the award reads: “The Sahai-Waters paper changed the landscape of cryptography by developing ingenious new techniques for leveraging indistinguishability obfuscation (IO) towards powerful cryptographic primitives. This paved the way to numerous applications in cryptography and beyond, and served as a major catalyst for the sequence of works that led to the 2021 breakthrough of basing indistinguishability obfuscation on well-studied assumptions. Sahai & Waters demonstrated the surprising power of IO to serve as a substitute for ideal (but unrealizable) flavors of obfuscation in many cryptographic applications. This includes not only standard public-key encryption schemes, but also first-of-their-kind constructions of more advanced cryptographic primitives. One prominent example, featured in the paper title, is settling the longstanding open problem of realizing deniable encryption: a public-key encryption in which given an encrypted message, one can consistently explain every possible plaintext message by generating fake encryption randomness.” The paper entitled “How to Use Indistinguishability Obfuscation: Deniable Encryption, and More ” has appeared in STOC 2014 and been cited by over 700 research papers.

This will be Professor Sahai’s 5th Test of Time Award from an A*-rated CS conference; his previous Test of Time awards were from FOCS, Eurocrypt (2x), and ACM CCS.