Secure Multi-Party Computation: from Theory to Practice

2022-04-21 15:25 - 17:25

Encryption is the backbone of cybersecurity. While encryption can secure data both in transit and at rest, in the new era of ubiquitous computing, modern cryptography also aims to protect data during computation. Secure multi-party computation (MPC) is a powerful technology to tackle this problem, which enables distrustful parties to jointly perform computation over their private data without revealing their data to each other. Although it is theoretically feasible and provably secure, the adoption of MPC in real industry is still very much limited as of today, the biggest obstacle of which boils down to its efficiency.

My research goal is to bridge the gap between the theoretical feasibility and practical efficiency of MPC. Towards this goal, my research spans both theoretical and applied cryptography. In theory, I develop new techniques for achieving general MPC with the optimal complexity, bringing theory closer to practice. In practice, I design tailored MPC to achieve the best concrete efficiency for specific real-world applications. In this talk, I will discuss the challenges in both directions and how to overcome these challenges using cryptographic approaches. I will also show strong connections between theory and practice.

Peihan Miao is an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Before coming to UIC, she received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019 and had brief stints at Google, Facebook, Microsoft Research, and Visa Research. Her research interests lie broadly in cryptography, theory, and security, with a focus on secure multi-party computation — especially in incorporating her industry experiences into academic research.