Always a step ahead of the hackers

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No. 291 - Bochum, 25.01.2011

Always a step ahead of the hackers

Mathematician comes to the RUB with the Sofja-Kovalevskaja Prize

1.65 million Euros for cryptographic technology research

The mathematician Prof. Dr. Eike Kiltz is returning to the Ruhr-Universität supported with 1.65 million Euros for five years. On 9th November 2010, he was one of eighteen young academics to receive the Sofja-Kovalevskaja Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin. The award enables outstanding academics from abroad to carry out their own research projects at an institution of their choice in Germany. Kiltz is to develop and test new cryptographic methods at the RUB that are also immune against future quantum computers. The RUB has offered Eike Kiltz, who studied and received his doctorate here before going to the Netherlands, a W2 professorship with tenure-track.

Cryptographic technology of the next generation makes the Internet safer

Without encryption processes and secure digital signatures, many applications on the Internet, such as home banking or online shopping, would not be possible. But cryptographers, who make encryptions, and hackers who try to get around them or crack them, are in a constant head-to-head race. How reliable are modern cryptographic methods really? Can they be made even more efficient and/or safer? These and similar questions are dealt with by Eike Kiltz. In addition, he and his team develop new kinds of algorithms that are also secure against quantum computers. “If it becomes possible to build effective quantum computers, almost all modern cryptographic methods will become unsafe in one fell swoop”, he explains. Kiltz uses known highly complex mathematical problems and assumptions, in which he seeks keys to new and alternative security models.

Vita Eike Kiltz

Eike Kiltz, born 1975, studied mathematics at the Ruhr-Universität from 1995 to 2001 and then worked as a research assistant at the RUB’s department of mathematics and computer science. In 2004 he received his doctorate and then spent a year as a postdoc at the University of California in San Diego. From 2005 to 2010 he was a member of the Cryptology Group at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam. Visiting fellowships took him to Switzerland, Spain and Denmark. He returned to the Ruhr-Universität with the Sofja-Kovalevskaja Prize and works at the Institute for Cryptology and IT Security (Prof. Dr. Alexander May), part of the Horst Gortz Institute for Security in Information Technology.

Sofja Kovalevskaja: first woman with a professorship

The prize’s namesake, the mathematician Sofja Kovalevskaja (1850-1891), was 19-years old when she came to study in Heidelberg and Berlin. After earning her doctorate, in 1889 she became the first woman in Europe to receive a professorship in Stockholm. The programme is open to outstanding young scientists of all disciplines from abroad. The Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize gives them the opportunity to set up work groups and carry out a high-level and innovative research project of their choice for a period of five years at their preferred research institution in Germany.

Editorial journalist

Meike Drießen
Press Office Ruhr University Bochum

Further information

Prof. Dr. Eike Kiltz, Tel. 0234/32-25513


Prof. Dr. Eike Kiltz

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