Applying Cryptography to National Security

May 30, 2024

This talk explores the application of cryptography to several critical areas of national security, including the tracking of nuclear warheads, the development of new policy frameworks for nuclear weapons treaties, the security of DNA printers while ensuring user privacy, and the impact of recent advancements in artificial intelligence on the security of software that affects large corporations and national infrastructure.

The discussion primarily treats cryptographic techniques as a “black box,” eliminating the need for the audience to understand their complex mathematical underpinnings. This approach makes the talk accessible to non-technical audiences.

Speaker: Neil Perry, a PhD candidate at Stanford University, advised by Professor Dan Boneh. His research lies at the intersection of cryptography, democracy, and national security, with a focus on developing innovative solutions for complex global challenges. Neil has pioneered a cryptographic system for tracking tactical nuclear warheads, a project that has contributed to the nonproliferation initiatives of the US and NATO. He is also working on bolstering the security of DNA printers, addressing a critical intersection of computer science and bioengineering. With the rise of large language models (LLMs) and their potential misuse in sensitive production environments, his research also encompasses the trustworthiness and security of AI-assisted code development.

Moderator: Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Scientist-in-Residence, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

00:00:00 Introduction
00:02:49 Main presentation
01:18:31 Q&A

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