Waters studies cryptography and computer security. His research is laying the foundation for a new vision of encryption called Functional Encryption. Instead of encrypting to individual users, in a Functional Encryption system, one can embed any access predicate into the cipher text itself. In addition, he is interested in understanding the foundational underpinnings of cryptography and in developing security primitives that are both practical and provably secure.
Initially created in 2005, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship program encompasses academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and thought leadership make them standouts in their fields. The selection process involves a review by a panel of Microsoft researchers and subject matter experts worldwide, and is intended to identify future academic leaders while they’re still at the beginning of their careers. The selected professors are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research that has the potential to help solve some of today’s most challenging societal problems. Each chosen fellow receives a cash gift to be used at his or her discretion. Additional resources include software, invitations to academic and professional conferences, and the opportunity to engage firsthand with leading researchers from Microsoft Research. As an unrestricted gift, the fellows have the freedom to plan their research agenda, hire grad students, build labs and purchase equipment. It is just one of many examples of how Microsoft Research is cultivating a global pipeline of research talent.