Researchers Receive $1.1 Million NSF Grant to Protect Internet Security

Ted Chinburg, a professor of mathematics, is part of a team that is trying to break the internet. But only so it can protect it.

The group of computer scientists and mathematicians received a four-year, $1.1 million grant from the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program of the National Science Foundation to use mathematics to better understand modern cryptography systems. Such systems allow for the transmission of secure communications over insecure wireless channels. Specifically, the researchers are focusing on a type of public key encryption called RSA.

A little more than a year into the project, they have published their first paper and are working on next steps to further combine their expertise in arithmetic geometry and cryptography. By linking these subjects in a novel way, they hope to develop tools applicable to a broad range of cryptographic systems.

“Cryptographers are incredibly clever,” Chinburg says. “They find methodology that theoreticians never would have dreamed of. On the other hand, arithmetic geometers have invented some methods new to the cryptography community. I’m very excited that our group has the opportunity to combine the two subjects.”

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