The Center for Encrypted Functionalities tackles the deep and far-reaching problem of general-purpose program obfuscation — which aims to make an arbitrary computer program “unintelligible” while preserving its functionality. Viewed in a different way, the goal of obfuscation is to enable software that can keep secrets: software that makes use of secrets, but such that these secrets remain hidden even if an adversary can examine the software code in its entirety and analyze its behavior as it runs. Secure obfuscation could enable a host of applications, from hiding the existence of many vulnerabilities introduced by human error, to hiding cryptographic keys within software.

The Center’s primary mission is to transform program obfuscation from an art to a rigorous mathematical discipline. In addition to its direct research program, the Center organizes retreats and workshops to bring together researchers to carry out the Center’s mission. The Center also engages in high-impact outreach efforts, such as the development of free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The Center for Encrypted Functionalities is supported through an NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace FRONTIER Award.