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Math student awarded scholarship for cybersecurity research

Elena Bakos Lang Receiving Award from Douglas Stebila

CryptoWorks21 alumni and graduate student in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization Elena Bakos Lang has been awarded the RBC Graduate Scholarship valued at $20,000 over three terms.

The scholarship is awarded to a graduate student conducting research in topics aligned with quantum-safe cryptography and who demonstrates excellence in academics, publications, and a lay abstract of a research proposal.

Bakos Lang’s thesis analyzed the tightness of a proof of security for a signature scheme in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Post-Quantum Cryptography competition. Additionally, her work helps determine the concrete amount of security that worst-case to average-case proofs give to real world cryptosystems. Bakos Lang hopes her work will raise questions about the usefulness of worst-case to average-case proofs for assessing security in lattice-based cryptosystems.

Bakos Lang credits the CryptoWorks21 program with helping her understand the many different facets of trying to start or commercialize a business. She also found the cryptography workshops useful, as they provided a way to learn about areas of post-quantum cryptography she was not familiar with.

Now, Bakos Lang hopes to use the knowledge and skills she obtained at the University of Waterloo and through CryptoWorks21 to help industry tackle the challenges of cryptography and security.