Galois wins $15M IARPA HECTOR program contract
On November 14, Portland, OR-based Galois announced it has been awarded a 5-year, $15.2 million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to make secure computation (SC) more accessible to data scientists and other programmers who are not experts in cryptography. By doing so, the project seeks to expand the use of privacy-preserving technology for government and commercial applications – including personalized medicine analytics, patient medical records, public accountability (e.g., FISA court watchdog), AI/machine learning, military data sharing between nations, and cyber security.
While strides have been made protecting data in transit and data at rest, it has proven far more challenging to protect data in the last mile — while it is being computed on. The Galois-led project for IARPA’s Homomorphic Encryption Computing Techniques with Overhead Reduction (HECTOR) Program extends Galois’ work in secure computation technologies, including homomorphic encryption, multi-party computation, circuit garbling, and zero knowledge proofs, all of which allow for computing on data while it remains cryptographically protected. Verona will be focusing on extending the Julia programming language to enable easy deployment of secure computation.
“These technologies can drive a sea change in how applications assure privacy of sensitive data,” said Dr. David Archer, principal researcher in privacy and cryptography at Galois. “Our objective is to develop a software development and runtime environment that brings secure computation to non-experts in cryptography. This environment will include tools for developing secure computation enriched programs, estimating the resource use of those programs, as well as deploying and executing them and proving their correct execution.”
The Galois-led Verona project includes key research contributions from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Two-Six Labs, KU Leuven, Julia Computing, and Columbia University.