Shafi Goldwasser


Information and Communication Technologies

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies category goes, in this tenth edition, to Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, Ronald Rivest and Adi Shamir for their “fundamental contributions to modern cryptology, an area of a tremendous impact on our everyday life,” in the words of the jury’s citation. “Their advanced crypto-protocols enable the safe and secure transmission of electronic data, ranging from e-mail to financial transactions. In addition, their work provides the underpinning for digital signatures, blockchains and crypto-currencies,” like Bitcoin.


Shafrira Goldwasser (New York, USA, 1958) graduated in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University, then went on to earn a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, with a thesis on the theory and practice of probabilistic encryption. In 1983, she joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and by 1995 was a full professor, as well as co-leader with Ronald Rivest of the Cryptography and Information Security Group. Since 1997, she has held the RSA Professorship of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, established that same year under an agreement with RSA Data Security, the firm set up by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adelman after developing the algorithm to which they lent their names.

She is also a member of the Theory of Computation Group and co-leads the Cryptography Group in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Since 1993, she has combined these responsibilities with the post of Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), where she is a member of the Theory Group.