It is a great honor for me to have been elected as the President of the IACR and a challenge at the same time. Today cryptography is a vibrant research field that offers important and exciting questions to work on. It has not lost any of its fascination to me over the last 20 years since I entered the field as a graduate student -- quite to the contrary. In the age of cloud computing, cryptology continues to be a key technology for securing the digital world. Starting with the Snowden revelations in 2013, cryptography has also regained a level of political visibility that reminds me of the debates that were taking place in the 1990's. This gives us, as cryptologists and members of the IACR, an exposure that is hard to match.
In 2013 cryptology demonstrated (again) the power of its contributions to society, science, and technology by Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali winning the ACM Turing Award, the highest distinction in computer science. As the ACM Turing Award page shows very visibly (http://amturing.acm.org/bysubject.cfm), cryptology is one of the most promising research topics for winning the Turing Award. Congratulations, Shafi and Silvio!
The IACR's events were well-attended and well-organized in 2013. The first two of our 2014 events, TCC in San Diego and FSE in London, are already over with about 120 and about 160 attendees, respectively. For the upcoming Eurocrypt in Copenhagen, everyone is advised to book early. Due to Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in the week just before Eurocrypt, hotels may be difficult to find or expensive.
The composition of the Board of Directors has changed for 2014. New members of the Board are: Ivan Damgaard, as new JoC Editor-in-Chief; Steven Galbraith, Asiacrypt 2015 General Chair; Svetla Petkova-Nikova, Eurocrypt 2015 General Chair; and Thomas Ristenpart, Crypto 2015 General Chair. Matt Franklin will stay on the Board in 2014 for easing the transition of the Journal to Ivan Damgaard.
IACR exists only through the work of volunteers, who bring our conferences, events, online systems, and publications to life. I'd like to thank everyone for contributing their time to IACR. It is hard work but important for our organization. At the same time, I am looking forward to hearing about your future plans and ideas for how you would like to help and to improve IACR.
Very concretely, the European members of the Board of Directors are currently looking for a proposal to host Eurocrypt 2016. If you are inclined and would like to know more about exposing your skills as a conference organizer, please step forward and contact Michel Abdalla or any other member of the Board.
For 2014 and beyond, the IACR will have to address the challenges to scientific publishing posed by two factors, by the Internet and by the growing field. The IACR has a long tradition of operating with a liberal, author-friendly attitude to copyright. This has made it possible, among other things, that all IACR publications starting from 1982 are now openly available over the Internet via the IACR website; only the last two years are restricted to IACR members. Second, the growth in our field has boosted the number of paper submissions and conference attendees, but also led to record low acceptance rates and excessive reviewing load. We will resume the open discussion on the future of IACR's publications, in order to address these challenges.
With my new role as President, I have to cut back on other ends. I am glad that Nigel Smart has taken over my job as co-editor of the Cryptology ePrint Archive, or "eprint" as called by most. He shares this workload with Tal Rabin. Almost 15 years ago, when I had created the online system that still runs today, it had not occurred to me that the eprint archive would ever play such a useful role for research in cryptology.
Shortly before writing this, the sad news reached us that Scott Vanstone has passed away on March 2nd. He was a giant in the field, and the IACR will honor his contributions separately. Let me only mention that he was a past Director of the IACR and had helped to grow the organization, and he became an IACR Fellow in 2011.
I look forward to interacting with you in 2014.Christian Cachin
This letter had stated erroneously that Scott Vanstone was past President of the IACR; in fact, he was a member of the Board of Directors.