Pair awarded Abel Prize for their contribution to cyber security


The Norwegian Academy of Science has announced that Hungarian Laszlo Lovasz and Israeli Avi Wigderson have been presented the Abel Prize for their contribution to computer security.

The jury praised the duo “for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics,”

Lovasz, 73, of Budapest’s Alfred-Renyi Institute of Mathematics and Eotvos Lorand University, is credited with developing a connection between discrete mathematics and computer science, such as the theory of networks.

Lovasz created the LLL algorithm with Dutch brothers Arjen and Hendrik Lenstra, which has applications in number theory, cryptography, and mobile computing.

The algorithm is the base for the only encryption schemes that can survive a quantum computer attack, according to the academy.

In the meantime, Avi Wigderson, a professor at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, has broadened and deepened the interpretation of “complexity theory.”

His experience has helped developments in internet encryption and is the cornerstone for the infrastructure that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee, said in a statement. “Thanks to the leadership of these two, discrete mathematics and the relatively young field of theoretical computer science are now established as central areas of modern mathematics.”

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unknown when the 7.5 million Norwegian kroner ($882,000, 741,000 euros) reward, named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, would be officially bestowed upon the pair.

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