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Anna Lysyanskaya was recently awarded the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship, the oldest and one of the most competitive fellowship programs in the United States. Anna’s extraordinary work in cryptographic protocols, namely anonymous credentials and electronic cash, led to her inclusion in this elite group

“The Sloan Research Fellowships support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers, and often at pivotal stages in their work,” says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “I am proud of the Foundation’s rich history in providing the resources and flexibility necessary for young researchers to enhance their scholarship, and I look forward to the future achievements of the 2008 Sloan Research Fellows.” Selection procedures for the Sloan Research Fellowships are designed to identify those who show the most outstanding promise fundamental contributions to new knowledge. “I am very honored to be selected as a Sloan fellow,” said Anna. This award will enable me to pursue problems I am very excited about, those that may take me a long time to solve, and so it would be hard to get, for example, NSF to sponsor them, while the Sloan foundation gives its Fellows freedom to truly explore.” The fellowships are awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to honor and promote the science of outstanding researchers early in their academic careers. The 118 winners are faculty members at 64 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. They receive grants of $50,000 for a two-year period to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them. This money will be used to support the work of Anna and her students in privacy-protecting technologies as well as the theoretical underpinnings of cryptography. Aside from the monetary aspect of the fellowships, less tangible benefits have been cited by former Fellows. The early recognition of distinguished performance which the fellowships confer, after years of arduous preparation, was said to be immensely encouraging and a stimulus to personal and career development.

The Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded since 1955. Since then, 35 Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields; and 14 have received the Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics.