Cynthia Dwork and a Brilliant Idea

Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP


Cynthia Dwork is a computer scientist who is a Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research. She has done great work in many areas of theory, including security and privacy.

Today Ken and I wish to talk about the notion of differential privacy and Dwork’s untiring advocacy of it.

This concept is brilliant. It is, in our opinions, one of the greatest definitions of this century. Okay the century is just fifteen years old, but it is a terrific notion. The formulation was introduced in her paper with Frank McSherry, Kobbi Nissim, and Adam Smith at the 2006 Theory of Cryptography Conference. The name “differential privacy” was suggested by Michael Schroeder also with Dwork and McSherry at Microsoft, and appears first in her ICALP 2006 invited paper. Her expositions of the concept’s motivations and significance in that paper are a breath of fresh air and also animate her 2014 book

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