Simons Institute Receives $1.5 Million in Grants for Research in Cryptography and Quantum Computing

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing has received a $300,000 grant from the UC Noyce Initiative to hold a research program on Cryptography in Summer 2025, and a Department of Energy (DOE) sub-award of $1.2 million in support of the Institute’s Research Pod in Quantum Computing.

The UC Noyce Initiative is a partnership among five UC campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara) to advance computing, information science, and engineering for the benefit of society. The Simons Institute is one of 13 grantees across the five campuses. Cryptographic tools have been crucial to the goals of both privacy and verification in the presence of adversaries. They enable safeguarding information in transit and in situ as well as when used in collaborative computation, among multiple distrustful parties that wish to extract utility from the union of their information, without sharing it fully. These tools also enable efficient protocols that verify the correctness of remote program executions and use of data, without replication or full knowledge of the internal details of the remote programs being verified. To address these issues, the Simons Institute will hold a research program in Summer 2025 on Cryptography, focusing on obfuscation, secure systems, and secure computation. Supported in part by the new UC Noyce Initiative grant, this program will extend existing theoretical cryptographic protocols and models to the context of machine learning, larger-scale multiparty collaborations on private data when adversarial parties are present, and new untrusted execution environments. 

Umesh Vazirani, the Simons Institute’s research director for quantum computing, has received a grant of $2.4 million from the DOE in support of his research into demonstrating quantum advantage in near-term noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computers. Half of the funding will support the Simons Institute’s Quantum Research Pod, which Vazirani directs. This pod brings together researchers from computer science, physics, chemistry, and mathematics to study pressing issues in quantum algorithms, complexity theory, error correction, and near-term quantum devices. The pod facilitates deep interactions between quantum computing and the rest of theoretical computer science and helps introduce and welcome the larger theoretical computer science community to research in quantum computing. Launched in 2020–21, the Simons Institute’s Research Pods initiative hosts sustained research efforts by small groups of collaborators working on a specific topic over several years. Sustained effort is articulated by intense shorter convenings, including summer clusters and semester-long research programs.

“We are delighted to be the recipient of these new awards,” said Venkat Guruswami, the Simons Institute’s interim acting director. “It’s an honor to receive support from a diverse range of funders who are invested in the Institute’s vision and understand the importance of foundational research in computer science.”