Shafi Goldwasser

b. 1958

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Shafi Goldwasser until we are able to commission a full entry.

Computer scientist Shafi Goldwasser.

Courtesy of the Weizmann Institute via Wikimedia Commons.

Shafi Goldwasser was honored with the Turing Award, the highest honor in computer science, for her work in revolutionizing the field of cryptography. Raised in Israel, Shafira Goldwasser graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1979 with a BS in math and science from before going on to earn an MS in 1981 and PhD in 1984 in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1982 she coauthored a paper with MIT professor Silvio Micali, “Probabilistic Encryption,” widely credited with turning encryption from an art to a science and allowing better data security in the internet age. The pair followed this with another game-changing paper in 1985 on zero-knowledge interactive proofs, which make it possible to prove a statement or concept without revealing any new information. (This system was the basis for security questions allowing internet users to retrieve lost passwords.) For their efforts, the pair was honored with the Turing Award in 2012. Goldwasser began teaching at MIT in 1983 and at the Weizmann Institute in 1993; as of 2015 she still teaches at both institutions.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Shafi Goldwasser." (Viewed on February 29, 2024) <>.