I remember the first time I met Nigel. It was back in 2015, when at my previous startup we started investigating homomorphic encryption. One thing that struck me was how practical Nigel was in terms of technology. Our first discussion wasn’t about some hypothetical future breakthrough, but rather about immediate practical applications of secure computation. Thanks to his help and to Pascal’s (my co-founder and CTO at Zama), we were able to ship an open source protocol for private analytics on mobile devices, long before privacy and GDPR were requirements for companies.
When Pascal and I started Zama, we naturally asked Nigel to come onboard as an academic advisor. For the last two years, Nigel has been helping us with defining research questions and various other endeavors, including setting up the FHE.org conference.
Today, I am proud to announce that Nigel will be joining us officially as Chief Academic Officer (CAO). What exactly is a CAO? It’s the person in charge of making sure Zama’s open source technology is being used for research in academia, and not exclusively by developers and companies. With his help, we hope to contribute to long term academic research on homomorphic encryption by providing the tools and support researchers need. In exchange, we hope these new breakthroughs will percolate into the open source codebase, and be used by millions of developers in the next decade.
If you don’t know Nigel, here is his short bio:
Professor Nigel Smart is a cryptography researcher and entrepreneur. He is known for his work on FHE, elliptic curves and MPC.
From 2000 to 2017, he founded and ran the cryptology research group at the University of Bristol, before joining COSIC at KU Leuven in 2018. In parallel, he founded several successful companies, including Identum (acquired by Trend Micro) and Unbound Security (acquired by Coinbase).
Nigel has held a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award, two ERC Advanced Grants, is an IACR fellow and was a director and vice-president of the International Association for Cryptologic Research. He is also the co-founder of the popular crypto conference, Real World Crypto.
Nigel, welcome to Zama!
If you’re interested in learning more about the work that Prof Nigel Smart and our team at Zama are doing, you can read our technical whitepaper here or, better yet, get started developing now using Concrete.
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Zama is growing!
We are hiring more than 100 people to work on homomorphic encryption, machine learning and blockchain. If you would like to join us, apply here: jobs.zama.ai