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Heady Recognition for Young Researcher

December 18, 2012 | By Microsoft blog editor

Posted by Rob Knies

Vipul Goyal 

For a man of 29, Vipul Goyal, a researcher at Microsoft Research India, already possesses a gaudy list of academic and professional achievements. He has a Ph.D. from UCLA. As a student there, he won a Microsoft Research graduate fellowship. His cryptographic research has been widely published at top conferences, and his work has attracted the attention of popular science publications.

And, on Dec. 17, Goyal was named to the Science and Healthcare section of Forbes magazine’s annual 30 Under 30 list, which features exceptional young people who are reinventing the world.

The inclusion represents even more validation of Goyal’s current success and tremendous potential—and this one he found particularly thrilling.

“It’s great to be recognized by a publication like Forbes,” he smiles. “I have been following the lists Forbes publishes since, like, forever. Now, I can’t believe that I am on one of these lists!”

Others can. His work on position-based cryptography has been widely lauded as a key step toward a future of seamless, location-based security. He credits that work in large part for his latest accolade.

“I, along with collaborators at UCLA and CWI Amsterdam, proposed methods using which, for example, one can send a message so that only someone at a certain geographical location can read it,” Goyal explains, “or provide access to a resource, such as a printer, only to someone in a particular building. I was happy to learn that this was one of the works cited in my selection.”

This is the second consecutive year that a Microsoft Research scientist has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In 2011, Bryan Parno of Microsoft Research Redmond was honored for his work in making computers more secure by combining cryptography with hardware and software on one device to enable it to protect others, as well.

For his part, Goyal has turned his attention to developing technologies to make cryptographic protocols over the Internet and the cloud more secure.

“As more and more sensitive data moves to the cloud,” he says, “there will be a need for a new suite of cryptographic technologies. Several users may be accessing the cloud simultaneously, and they could collude to try to learn sensitive data. Thus, we need to design secure protocols under such simultaneous or concurrent access.

“The underlying mathematics of this actually turns out to be quite challenging. I am currently focusing on the theoretical foundations of concurrent security. I also work on new encryption technologies for access control of data in the cloud.”

Such a pursuit serves as just another brainteaser for Goyal as he contemplates his 30th birthday. If he gets his way, as he often does, the data you entrust to the cloud will remain safe and secure for a long time to come.