Prof. Dr. Sebastian Faust, Technical University of Darmstadt, and Prof. Dr. Stefan Dziembowski, University of Warsaw, have been chosen to receive the 2020 Copernicus Award from the German Research Foundation and the Foundation for Polish Science for their services to German-Polish research collaboration. The jury appointed jointly by the DFG and the FNP selected the two researchers for their outstanding and distinguished collaboration in the field of cryptography and IT security.
Prof. Stefan Dziembowski and Prof. Sebastian Faust have been collaborating since they met at a scientific conference a decade ago. Their research, in which they frequently involve young researchers, focuses on applying mathematical techniques to computer science. It has led to several important joint publications that received lots of attention by the academic community and had significant impact on practical systems. In particular, their work on connecting the so-called “noisy leakage model” and “random probing model” has won the “Best Paper Award” at the prestigious EUROCRYPT 2014 conference, and contributed substantially to the general understanding of defenses against side-channel attacks. Such attacks are considered to be one of the most devastating attacks against practical security systems.
Another important area of their joint scientific work focuses on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. In particular, they co-invented “Proofs of Space” that offers a “greener” alternative for cryptocurrency mining used in Bitcoin. This technology is currently implemented in commercial blockchain projects. Recently, Prof. Dziembowski and Prof. Faust created the Perun network, which enables Blockchain applications to be executed in real-time. Besides several influential scientific publications on this topic, this technology is currently implemented as an open-source software project that is planned to be integrated into various cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects.
The researchers have been chosen to receive the 2020 Copernicus Award from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Fundacja na rzecz Nauki Polskiej (FNP, Foundation for Polish Science) for their services to German-Polish research collaboration. The jury appointed jointly by the DFG and the FNP selected the two researchers for their outstanding and distinguished collaboration in the field of cryptography and IT security. Their joint research on the foundations and applications of these areas significantly influenced the security of real-world systems. The value of the award is 200 000 euro (100 000 euro for each of the two recipients).
Prof. Stefan Dziembowski works at the University of Warsaw where he leads a Cryptography and Blockchain Lab. He received his PhD at Aarhus University in Denmark. Afterwards, he spent his postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, at the Italian National Research Council in Pisa, and at the Sapienza University of Rome. He is at the University of Warsaw since 2010. Dziembowski has received numerous grants and fellowships such as the Starting Grant and the Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC), the Welcome Grant and Team Grant from the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). Stefan Dziembowski‘s main research interests are cryptography, blockchain, and smart contracts.
Prof. Sebastian Faust works at the Technical University of Darmstadt. He is head of the Applied Cryptography Group. After finishing his PhD at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, he went to Aarhus University in Denmark for his postdoc and further on to the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland on a Marie Curie Fellowship. Afterwards, he returned to Germany to the Ruhr University Bochum as an assistant professor, where he was funded by the Emmy Noether Research program of the DFG. Since 2017, he has been a full professor at the Technical University of Darmstadt, where his research focuses on cryptography, blockchain technology and IT security.