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NEWS | Feb. 19, 2015

NRL's Paul Syverson Named Fellow by Association for Computing Machinery

By Donna McKinney

Paul Syverson, a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has been named a Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Syverson is recognized for his contributions to and leadership in the theory and practice of privacy and security. ACM will recognize Syverson at the ACM Awards Banquet held in June 2015.

ACM, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, recognizes the top 1% of ACM members with its most prestigious member grade for their outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community. Syverson is the first NRL researcher to be named an ACM Fellow.

Syverson's primary research interest is traffic-secure communications: basic theory, system design, protocols, incentives, trust, threat models, performance, usability, and applications. His research in this area began with and continues to focus on onion routing, an approach to traffic-secure communications invented by David Goldschlag, Michael Reed, and Syverson at NRL in 1995. It includes Tor, an instance of onion routing designed by Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson, and Syverson in 2002 as part of one of Syverson's onion routing projects. Tor is the largest deployed and used network of its kind in existence (millions of users and over 6000 network servers worldwide). Syverson is also recognized for his service to ACM and leadership in the computer security and privacy community, for example as a creator of the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium and the ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society.

Syverson received his bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Cornell University in 1981. He received his master's degrees in Philosophy and Mathematics from Indiana University in 1988. He came to work at NRL's Center for High Assurance Computer Systems in 1989, and in 1993, he received his doctorate in Philosophy from Indiana University with a dissertation drawing on game theory and distributed computing to set out an epistemic foundation for logic.

Syverson has authored more than 100 publications. He holds three patents, including the patent for Onion routing network for securely moving data through communication networks, issued in 2001.

Syverson's awards include the Edison Invention Award, for invention of Onion Routing, NRL, 2001; Service Award, Association for Computing Machinery, 2008; Award for Projects of Social Benefit, Free Software Foundation, 2010; Pioneer Award, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2012; Top 100 Global Thinkers, Foreign Policy, 2012; and the Test of Time Award, USENIX Security Symposium, 2014.

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