Silvio Micali


Lecture Information:
  • March 1, 2024
  • 3:22 AM
  • ECS: 241

Speaker Bio

Silvio Micali was born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1954. He received his undergraduate education in Rome, graduating with a degree in mathematics from Sapienza University in 1978 as one of the brightest students of Professor Corrado Bohm. He earned his PhD under Manuel Blum at the University of California, Berkeley in 1982. After a postdoctoral position in Toronto (1982-1983), he joined the faculty at MIT in July 1983, where he has been since.
Silvio Micali is a visionary whose work has contributed to the mathematical foundations of cryptography and has advanced the theory of computation. His non-conventional thinking has fundamentally changed our understanding of basic notions such as randomness, secrets, proof, knowledge, collusion, and privacy, which have been contemplated and debated for millennia. This foundational work was a key component in the development of the computer security industry, facilitated by his patents and start-up companies. His work has also had great impact on other research areas in computer science and mathematics.
Silvio’s educational and teaching talents are no less legendary. His lectures are consistently entertaining and illuminating. They use numerous cartoons and remarkable stories of unlikely heroes, villains and impossible tasks, designed to highlight the new ideas and concepts. His strong Sicilian accent is the perfect spice for these treats. Silvio has mentored and advised many PhD students in that spirit.


We show how Theory of Computation has revolutionized our millenary notion of a proof, revealing its unexpected applications to our new digital world.
In particular, we show how interaction can make proofs much easier to verify, dramatically limit the amount of knowledge released, and yield the most secure identification schemes to date.