Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty member and principal investigator in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at MIT, Shafi Goldwasser is one of eleven to receive the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal at the Franklin Institute on Thursday, April 29. The original announcement of this award was made in October 2009.
Goldwasser, awarded the Bower Award for Achievement in Science, one of eight categories within the Franklin Medal, was cited (according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, April 29, 2010 article):
"Anyone who has made a secure purchase on the Internet is using encryption technology that Shafrira "Shafi" Goldwasser helped create.
Goldwasser and her colleagues developed the so-called zero-knowledge proof, a method of verifying information without sharing it. Zero knowledge enables an online buyer to prove she has a valid credit card without divulging the numbers.
Goldwasser is viewed as a pioneer of modern cryptography for using computers and complex mathematical processes to encrypt everything from government secrets to online bank statements. For that, she will receive the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Sciences.
The 51-year-old computer scientist was born in New York City. She is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a professor of mathematical science at the Weizman Institute of Science in Israel.
Throughout her career, Goldwasser has been on the cutting edge of efforts to develop complex codes that the most advanced computers require years or decades to decode, thus rendering the code unbreakable in practice."