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A zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is a powerful cryptographic primitive used in many decentralized or privacy-focused applications. However, the high overhead of ZKPs can restrict their practical applicability. In this talk, I will discuss our recent work, Ou, the first programming framework that provides fully automated and optimal parallelization for ZKPs. The frontend language of Ou ensures privacy and correctness through its robust type system. It also enables cryptography experts to introduce optimizations, such as the employment of extended witnesses or random challenges. In addition, the backend of Ou efficiently and automatically parallelizes ZKPs by formulating program parallelization as integer linear programming problems. This work was accepted by CCS 2023 and received a Yale Roberts Innovation Award.

Ning Luo is a postdoctoral fellow in the computer science department at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Yale University in 2022. She is a recipient of EECS rising stars, a CCS Distinguished Paper Award, and Robert Innovation Award. Ning’s research aims to solve emerging challenges in cybersecurity by combining formal methods, cryptography, automated reasoning, programming language, and other areas. First, she focuses on strengthening the cybersecurity workforce via automation. Her work provides computer-aided programming frameworks for developers with varying expertise levels. Second, she builds toward a privacy-preserving software verification toolchain that empowers verifications and ensures trustworthiness without the need to access the source code.

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