Silvio Micali


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.


Silvio Micali (Palermo, Italy, 1954) graduated in mathematics from Sapienza University of Rome and earned a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1983 he joined MIT, where he is currently a full professor and associate head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Like Rivest and Goldwasser, he works in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

His research focuses on information security. He has worked, like Adi Shamir, on the zero-knowledge proof and has been distinguished jointly with Shafi Goldwasser for his cryptographic research. Author of Randomness and Computation (from the series “Advances in Computing Research”), he has 47 patents to his name and is the founder of two companies: CoreStreet, providing smart credential software – acquired by ActiveIdentity in 2009 – and Peppercoin, which he set up with Ronald Rivest to market a cryptographic system for processing micropayments.