NTT Research nets university partnerships in cryptography and blockchain

SOURCE: Shahadat Rahman/Unsplash
These new research partnerships will add on to NTT's efforts to improve the quality of information security.

By U2B Staff 

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Tokyo-based NTT Research, Inc. has announced two new cryptography and blockchain research partnerships between its Cryptography and Information Security (CIS) Lab with UCLA and Georgetown University respectively. 

The partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will span for five years and covers research on the theoretical aspects of information security, mainly in cryptography. 

Meanwhile, in a separate three-year agreement with Georgetown University, NTT research will focus on utilising a global scale testbed for blockchain research. 


Both partnerships will involve the use of mathematical theory to further strengthen information security levels against third-party breaches and enable greater system reliability. 

NTT Research opened offices in Palo Alto, California in July 2019 as a new Silicon Valley startup with three specialised labs. In addition to the CIS lab, there is also the Medical and Health Informatics (MEI) Lab and the Physics and Informatics (PHI) Lab. 

The organisation aims to conduct high-level collaborative research in areas of quantum information, neuro-science and photonics, cryptographic and information security, and medical and health informatics.

These partnerships will involve fundamental research on cryptography and blockchain. Source: Alex Kotliarskyi/Unsplash.

The CIS Lab will focus on basic research of cryptography and blockchain with the potential for long-term impact led by NTT Fellow Tatsuaki Okamoto.

NTT Research Distinguished Scientist Brent Waters who heads the CIS Lab’s cryptography research group will also be involved in the collaboration with UCLA which will prioritise advanced secure cryptosystems, secure protocols, new sources of hardness, and mathematical foundations of cryptography. 

“These agreements reflect our commitment to engage and work with the strongest and most dedicated researchers, as well as our focus on foundational research problems,” said Okamoto. 

“Our collaboration with UCLA will complement the important basic research that Brent Waters has undertaken, and our planned work with Georgetown is a good example of our openness to exploring security in relatively new use case and test scenarios.”

The research initiatives will also be conducted by UCLA Professor of Computer Science at the Samueli School of Engineering Dr Amit Sahai who is also the director of the Center for Encrypted Functionalities at UCLA.

“NTT’s commitment to fundamental research is evident in their generous support, and we are very grateful that they share our vision,” said Professor Sahai. 

“This grant will enable our explorations of the boundary between the possible and the impossible with regards to cryptography. We’ll be able to answer difficult questions, and then turn that new knowledge into innovative applications in information security.”


Whereas, NTT’s three-year partnership with Georgetown University will be conducted at the university’s new cross-discipline cyber research centre, Cyber SMART which adheres to the standards and requirements of the National Science Foundation’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Centres (IUCRC) Program. 

The research will be headed by Cyber SMART’s blockchain research group led by globally recognised blockchain expert and research professor Dr Shinichiro Matsuo from Georgetown University.