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Silvio Micali succeeds Bill Freeman as associate head in EECS

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Professor Silvio Micali (left), is the new associate department head in EECS, succeeding Professor Bill Freeman.
Professor Silvio Micali (left), is the new associate department head in EECS, succeeding Professor Bill Freeman.
Photos courtesy of Silvio Micali and Bill Freeman.

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS) head Anantha Chandrakasan announced the appointment of Professor Silvio Micali as associate department head of EECS, effective Jan. 15. Micali succeeds Professor Bill Freeman, who served in this role and as a member of the Department Leadership Group (DLG) since July 2011.

Micali, a graduate of University of California at Berkeley, is best known as a visionary for his fundamental and foundational work on public-key cryptography, pseudorandom number functions, digital signatures, oblivious transfer, secure multiparty computation, zero-knowledge proofs, and mechanism design.

For his work, Micali has been recognized with many honors, including the Gödel Prize in 1993 and the RSA Prize in Cryptography in 2004. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, and elected in 2007 to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Silvio Micali and Shafi Goldwasser received the 2012 Turing Award for their work in cryptography — developing new mechanisms for encrypting and securing information — methods that are widely applicable and applied today in communication protocols, Internet transactions, and cloud computing.

Micali has been awarded over 50 patents on practical implementations of his inventions for encryption, digital signatures, electronic cash, certified transactions, key-escrow, and more. He established two start-up companies: Peppercoin, for micropayments, launched in 2002 with Ron Rivest and was acquired by Chockstone in 2007; and CoreStreet, for real-time credentials, was acquired by ActiveIDentity in 2009.

Chandrakasan said in his announcement to the EECS faculty: “I know that Silvio will bring to his new position the clarity, creativity, and passion that characterize his research work and teaching, and the department will be the stronger for it.”

Chandrakasan also extended his appreciation to Freeman for his tremendous service as associate department head. Freeman played a key role in the faculty search and hiring process. Along with former associate department head Munther Dahleh, Freeman co-chaired the Strategic Hiring Areas planning, leading to the hiring of 12 faculty members. He also worked toward successfully establishing a student committee for the faculty search process.

Freeman was instrumental in creating Postdoc6, a dedicated community for the department's postdoctoral associates. For this initiative, he organized and launched an annual workshop for postdocs (held in January), as well as periodic lunches, with speakers, for the group during the semester.


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