Oded Goldreich’s Choices

Oded Goldreich has started a site in which he is going to collect selected recent papers in theoretical computer science.

He introduces this project with very interesting reflections on the matter of scientific exchange and communication:

My impression is that FOCS and STOC do not function any more as forums devoted to the presentation and exchange of ideas (but rather function as “weight-lifting competitions”). The question is what can be done to serve the need for the lost forums. One answer is provided by various personal blogs in which various researchers present their own choices of (relatively) recent works that have drawn their attention.

My problem with many of these blogs is that they cover the obvious (i.e., they all focus more or less on the same “hot results” that draw everybody’s attention). I would like to contribute to the project of regaining forums devoted to the presentation of ideas in a different way; specifically, by calling attention to works that have fascinated me although they were not necessarily labeled as “hot”.

Post-modern cryptography

Oded Goldreich has written an essay in response to two essays on “provable security” by Koblitz and Menezes. Oded says that “Although it feels ridiculous to answer [the claims of Koblitz and Menezes], we undertake to do so in this essay. In particular, we point out some of the fundamental philosophical flaws that underly the said article and some of its misconceptions regarding theoretical research in Cryptography in the last quarter of a century.

Neil Koblitz spoke here at IPAM in October on the somewhat related matter of how to interpret results in the Random Oracle model and in the Generic Group model. There is an audio file of his talk.