International Association for Cryptologic Research

President's Message

There have been substantial changes that have swept through our field during my tenure as President of IACR for the last six years. The most startling is probably the growth of the Internet as a universal medium of communication. As a result of this growth, cryptology is no longer just an arcane subdiscipline of mathematics and computer science, but is instead widely reconized as an important field of scientific study, for both economic and social reasons. It has been a time of great prosperity for our field.

During this time, IACR has also undergone many changes. One important change has been the professionalism and steady improvement of our member services. This is largely as a result of the efforts of our Vice President and former membership secretary, Andy Clark. Because the Crypto conference has always been held at the University of California in Santa Barbara, IACR has always had a strong relationship with UCSB. In recent years we have started using their conference services to provide registration, mailing, and database services for our members. Andy Clark deserves most of the credit for having designed these processes used for serving the members, and continues to provide leadership in this and many other of our activities. His service deserves a special thanks from each of you.

The operations of the IACR are overseen by a strong board of directors, most of whom are directly elected by the members in an election held each year (the rest of the positions are appointed by vote of the board). I encourage each of you to consider running for a position on the board, as it is a wonderful experience. This year's election will have seven positions open on the board, including three directors and four officer positions. Those of you interested in serving on the board should consult one of the members of the nomination committee (see the announcement later in this issue).

As editor of the IACR newsletter, Christian Cachin has brought the newsletter through a transition from a traditional paper document sent through the postal mail to an electronic newsletter that is sent by email and available on the web. In addition, Christian has also assumed editorship for the IACR web site after I started it in 1995. Christian has performed an absolutely wonderful job in these roles, and he deserves our sincere thanks for continuing to provide an excellent service to the community. When you see him, be sure to thank him for his tireless efforts.

The field of scientific publishing is one of many human activities that are undergoing tremendous change in the fact of the world wide web. As a natural outgrowth of the IACR web site, we now have an e-print archive available on the web as a means to provide rapid access to current research material. This is maintained by Mihir Bellare, Bennet Yee, and Christian Cachin, and is linked through the IACR web site at eprint.iacr.org. Springer-Verlag also now provides electronic access to the Lecture Notes in Computer Science series, in which our conference proceedings are published. As the field of scientific publishing continues to evolve, we should probably expect electronic distribution to supplant other forms as time goes forward.

IACR has always had a very strong international participation, and one of the things that I am most proud of is the change to have IACR sponsor the annual Asiacrypt conference. By adding Asiacrypt, IACR now sponsors three major conferences each year in the three regions of the world where most of our members live and work. Science thrives on communication, and broad international participation is important to the health of our field. I encourage you to consider submitting your best papers to the Asiacrypt conference.

The FSE workshop has been running for several years as an independent workshop under the competent management of a group of researchers in the field. At the IACR board of directors meeting in Innsbruck this year, we voted to accept a proposal from this steering committee for IACR to assume sponsorship of FSE. In this relationship, the steering committee will continue to run the workshop, under the watchful eye of the IACR board. The purpose of the new relationship is to provide financial backing, availability of membership services, and stewardship of copyright for the proceedings of the workshop. IACR members will also benefit from continuing to have a strong workshop of interest to many of our members.

IACR functions as a society because of the volunteer efforts of many people. In addition to the people who have been mentioned previously, Joan Feigenbaum has performed a wonderful job as editor in chief of the Journal of Cryptology, and in so doing has provided the society with the premier journal of the field. In addition, the general chairs of the conferences perform a vital task in making sure that our annual gatherings are well organized and foster a pleasant environment in which to pursue our research. The program chairs for the conferences also serve admirably by putting together and leading a committee to select the best research to be presented at the conferences. Each and every member of the board of directors has served in important capacities for the society, and I am proud to be a member of a society that has such strong member participation.

Kevin McCurley


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