Posted by: jonkatz | June 25, 2009

Craig Gentry in Forbes magazine

I’m guessing not many readers of this blog are regular readers of Forbes.

So you may have missed this recent article on Craig Gentry and his fully homomorphic encryption scheme. Overall, not a bad article. But there appears to be some hype. For example:

But now that Gentry has broken the theoretical barrier to fully homomorphic encryption, the steps to make it practical won’t be far behind…

Is it possible that we will see fully homomorphic encryption deployed any time soon? I doubt it. Not only because the encryption scheme itself is inefficient — I could imagine efficiency improvements here — but because of the blowup that occurs when converting a computer program to a boolean circuit.

Of course, I could be wrong. And none of this is to take anything away from the amazing theoretical breakthrough by Craig. But it makes me wonder about the level of hype in popular articles I read about other areas of science, where I am not as knowledgeable about the “facts on the ground”.

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Responses

  1. It pays off to work for IBM – the hype machine is gearing up. Another recent piece: http://ecoinsite.com/2009/06/ibm-researchers-work-on-encryption-to-boost-cloud-security.html

    I don’t really think Craig’s work is usable in cloud computing…

  2. I read both the articles: Forbes and IBM-Cloud-computing. I agree with Jon — there seems to be hype. This seems to be taken as an opportunity to *advertise* about what they do. Nevertheless, I am happy that Craig is getting the attention he deserves — so what if there is some advertising going on the side….

    By the way, I love the caption below Craig’s picture in the article at Forbes: “Encryption master: Craig Gentry unlocks secrets with his eyes closed”. Its so funny….

  3. The funny thing is that he actually locks secrets, and does not unlock. 🙂


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