CRYPTO 2011, the 31st Annual International Cryptology Conference, was held August 14-18 on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. The event was sponsored by the International Association for Cryptologic Research (the IACR) in cooperation with the UCSB Computer Science Department and the IEEE Computer Society's Technical Committee on Security and Privacy.
We received 230 submissions, a new record, of which 43 were accepted for publication. With one pair of papers merged, these proceedings contain the revised versions of 42 papers.
There were also two invited talks. On Monday, Ron Rivest delivered the 2011 IACR Distinguished Lecture. On Wednesday, Roger Dingledine spoke about Tor, a widely used system for online anonymous communication. For Tuesday afternoon, traditionally left free, Shai Halevi graciously offered a three-hour tutorial on Fully Homomorphic Encryption. That evening, Dan Bernstein and Tanja Lange chaired the traditional rump session.
I have tried to assemble a technical program not only strong, but also balanced. Efforts in this direction included selection of a particularly large and broad PC, and a Call for Papers explicitly indicating receptiveness to cryptographic topics not routinely appearing at recent CRYPTOs. I encouraged PC members to focus on the positive aspects of submissions. When it came time to vote on a second-round accepts, partitioning the papers into topical categories may also have helped.
For the Best Paper Award, the PC overwhelmingly selected "Computer-Aided Security Proofs for the Working Cryptographer," by Gilles Barthe, Benjamin Grégoire, Sylvain Heraud, and Santiago Zanella Béguelin. The Committee praised the work for its broad appeal, its connections to programming language, and its potential impact.
Papers were reviewed in the customary way, double-blind, with non-PC contributions generally receiving three or more reviews, and PC-contributions getting four or more. I encouraged (anonymized) questions from PC members to authors, and ended up relaying several tens of such messages. Throughout the review process I tried to treat each submission as its authors' well-loved child, never as a three-digit number in need of categorization.
I would like to most sincerely thank the authors of submissions---both those who did and who did not get their papers in. Contributing research from all corners of the earth, it is the fine work of the authors that makes a conference like ours possible and worthwhile.
My deepest appreciation goes out to the Program Committee. I find something wonderful and touching about so many busy and brilliant people putting in enormous amounts of time to perform so thankless and difficult a service. I was repeatedly impressed by the dedication, integrity, knowledge, and extraordinary technical skills of so many on our PC. A list of PC members appears after this note.
The external reviewers play a key role in assessing the submissions, and are heartily thanked for their contribution. A list of external reviewers likewise appears after this note. My apologies in advance for any errors or omissions.
I would like to thank Tom Shrimpton, the General Chair, for working closely with me and handling the myriad of matters associated to putting on a great conference. Rei Safavi-Naini served double duty as both PC member and Junior Chair. I kept in close touch with John Benaloh, my IACR point of contact, who could always be counted on for timely information and feedback. I repeatedly got invaluable and frank advice from Tal Rabin, the CRYPTO 2010 Program Chair. Shai Halevi wrote, explained, and maintained the superb websubrev software on which we conducted our business. Alfred Hofmann and his colleagues at Springer saw to the timely production of this volume. Finally, Bongkotrattana Lailert afforded me the time and space needed to do this piece of work as well as I possibly could, smilingly accepting her and Banlu's exile to distant lands.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge something that all old-timers know, but which, as authors, we may sometimes fail to internalize: that there's an awful lot of randomness in the paper-selection process. Wonderful papers sometimes get rejected; mediocre papers sometimes get in. After serving as PC Chair I am more convinced than ever that it is fundamentally wrong to feel much of anything when any particular paper one submits does or doesn't make the cut. I hope that, over a period of years, important papers do get in, and do get recognized as well.
Serving as a CRYPTO Program Chair is a big job, and it can be a stressful one as well. Yet, somehow, I feel like I have grown more than gray hairs with this job, and am happy to have taken it on.