Amit Sahai, UCLA’s Symantec Term Professor of Computer Science, has been named a 2021 Simons Investigator, one of the most prestigious recognitions for faculty members in the prime of their research careers.

The Simons Foundation announced on June 28 its 16 new investigators in mathematics, physics, astrophysics and computer science from a targeted list of institutions in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The award provides each appointee $100,000 annually for five years to “support outstanding theoretical scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists.”

The appointment is renewable for a second five-year term pending evaluation of an investigator’s scientific impact. Each investigator’s department also receives $10,000 per year, while their institution is awarded additional compensations up to 20% in indirect costs.

Sahai is a theoretical computer scientist at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. He specializes in cryptography research, enabling both secure data sharing and secure data computations. For more than two decades, he has spearheaded research exploring the concept of program obfuscation — the notion of making a computer program unintelligible while preserving its functionality.

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