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During the past decades, there have been a couple of revolutionary developments within the research field of cryptography. Whereas cryptography is mostly known for securing bilateral communication, the subfield of multilateral cryptography has taken a leap towards application. A technique, known as secure multi-party computation, enables different parties, each having sensitive data, to jointly perform computations without revealing each other’s data. In our current era, where many data sources become available, and the interest for machine learning and artificial intelligence is growing, there is an increasing need for secure data sharing, i.e. secure computations with distributed data without revealing the data sources, such that additional value of data can be created.
The second important development is the rise of the quantum computer, which will be able to break an important part of our current cryptographic systems. This has led to the development of new systems, so called post-quantum crypto, that are able to withstand the computing power of the quantum computer.
Therefore, cryptography is currently of strategic importance to TNO, and our society, on various application domains.
The past couple of years I have been creating awareness of beautiful cryptographic developments at various venues. In 2021 we organised the yearly CWI in Business event on the topic of Secure Multi-Party Computation. In July of the same year I was the editor of special issue “Privacy-Preserving Computation” of the European scientific magazine ERCIM News. And together with CWI, we are organising a series of symposia on Post-Quantum Cryptography, to stress the urgency, and explain the migration difficulties.