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Mathematics of Modern Cryptography Explored at Program for Women and Mathematics 2018

IAS outreach program celebrates twenty-fifth year
May 15, 2018
Press Contact
Kelly Devine Thomas
(917) 916-9142
Andrea Kane
Participants in the 2017 Program for Women and Mathematics attend a review session.

Toni Bluher, senior subject matter expert in cryptography at the National Security Agency, and Kristin Lauter, principal researcher and research manager for the cryptography group at Microsoft Research, will give lecture courses on cryptography as part of the 2018 Program for Women and Mathematics, which will take place May 19–25 at the Institute for Advanced Study. Now in its twenty-fifth year, the outreach program brings together research mathematicians and undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral women for intensive residential mentoring in mathematics. This year’s program, which will focus on the mathematics of modern cryptography, is supported by the Institute as well as generous grants from Lisa Simonyi, the National Science Foundation, and Princeton University.

Designed to further the mathematics education of talented scholars from undergraduate through postdoctoral levels, as well as to address issues of gender imbalance in the field, the Program for Women and Mathematics involves lectures and seminars, as well as mentoring, conversations about peer relations, an introduction to career opportunities in and out of academia, and professional development.

The program will feature Bluher’s introductory lecture course “Mathematics in Cryptography,” which will address the evolutionary nature of cryptography and the central role of mathematics, along with topics including substitution ciphers and how to defeat them, World War II cryptography, symmetric cryptography and electronic codebooks, authentication, public key cryptography, the mathematical underpinnings of internet security, and the future. Lauter’s advanced lecture course “The Mathematics of Post-Quantum Cryptography” will cover some of the mathematics of lattice-based cryptography, code-based cryptography, homomorphic encryption, and supersingular isogeny graphs, highlighting some of the deep connections with number theory.

The 2018 program is organized by former Members in the Institute’s School of Mathematics: Sun-Yung Alice Chang, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University; Dusa McDuff, Helen Lyttle Kimmel ’42 Professor of Mathematics at Barnard College, Columbia University; and Margaret Readdy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Kentucky.

For more information on the Women and Mathematics Program, visit