With research now indicating that conventional factoring-based cryptographic schemes may become obsolete, the race is on to find new, hacker-proof systems. Professor Micciancio is a leading authority on lattice-based primitives, a family of algorithms promising for cryptography. Messages can be encoded as points in a lattice, a geometric entity describable as the set of intersection points of a multi-dimensional grid. Since any finite number of dimensions can be used, the "complexity" (computational difficulty) of cracking the scheme can be simply enhanced by adding extra dimensions. Lattices can also generate error correcting codes (ECC) for efficient transmission over noisy channels, a fact that makes Micciancio's work relevant to the study of ECC theory. A possible breakthrough is Micciancio's discovery of a "generalized compact knapsack", a method for building efficient cryptogaphic functions based on the hardness of solving a special class of lattice problems. Micciancio also has worked with "braids," another group of geometric objects with potential as cryptographic primitives. Micciancio is working on many other topics in the area of cryptography and computer security, including forward-security (an enhanced notion of security that takes into account theft of digital keys used to sign a message), zero-knowledge protocols (a general tool for securing various kinds of interactive applications), and formal methods for computer security—the development of tools and techniques to make the design and validation of cryptographic protocols a more manageable task.
Daniele Micciancio came to the Jacobs School in 1999 as Assistant Professor. He works with Professors Mihir Bellare and Bennett Yee in the Cryptography and Security Lab, and is one of nine Jacobs School professors who conduct research in the Theory of Computation Lab. He is a 2001 recipient of an NSF Career Award, and 2001 Hellman Fellow, and coauthor of the book "Complexity of Lattice Problems: a cryptographic perspective" (Kluwer, 2002). He received his PhD from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology in 1998.