Shweta Agrawal Receives the ACM India OCCW Award for 2022

November 1, 2022

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) India Council has named Prof. Shweta Agrawal as the recipient of the ACM India Outstanding Contributions in Computing by a Woman Award (OCCW) for 2022. A selection committee comprising eminent international personalities chose Shweta for this edition of the OCCW award.

The award recognizes women professionals who have made fundamental, innovative, and impactful contributions to computing field and gender diversity primarily working in India. The award carries a prize of ₹7 lakhs, sponsored by Google.

Shweta receives this award “for her outstanding contributions to the field of cryptography and her dedication to mentoring women in science and technology.”

Shweta is an Associate Professor at the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM). Her research interests are in cryptography, information security, and (generally) theoretical computer science. She earned her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin, guided by Professor Dan Boneh in Cryptography (during an extended visit to Stanford University) and Professor Sriram Vishwanath in Information Theory. She also spent two years as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles with Professor Amit Sahai. Currently, her research focuses mainly on post-quantum cryptography, notably cryptography based on the hardness of lattice problems. She is also working on the applications of blockchain technology to socially relevant issues.

Shweta has made pioneering and fundamental contributions to cryptography. She has worked on foundational questions, introduced original techniques and made outstanding advances to central problems in the field. Her work in the area of understanding the power of quantum algorithms and attacks—and the mathematical problems that can withstand these attacks to give secure systems in the post quantum era—is an extremely important area of research. Her choice of research problems together with the innovation and depth of her solutions have earned her immense respect in the global community of cryptography. She was an invited speaker at Asiacrypt 2020, was awarded the best paper prize at Eurocrypt 2020, and served as the program chair for Asiacrypt 2022.

Shweta has worked incessantly to serve the Indian computer science community by organizing numerous workshops and conferences to which student travel is either subsidized or covered entirely. She is passionate about empowering women in science and has made several efforts towards this goal. She serves as the faculty coordinator for the “Women in CS (WiCS)” group at IITM and was a core committee member in the “Women Leading IITM'' initiative. She demonstrates a strong sense of service and serves as a strong role model for young women. Shweta also works actively for assisting the differently abled at IITM and is part of the IITM effort that organizes and procures suitable resources for students with disabilities. Shweta is also currently an ACM India council member and chairs the ACM India Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. Aside from research and service activities, she invests substantial effort in advising and guiding students.

Please join us in congratulating Prof. Shweta Agrawal.

The ACM India Awards Steering Committee