Big Data & Science

Werner Siemens Foundation makes major donation to Centre for Digital Trust

Zwei Männer im Anzug halten gemeinsam eine Urkunde.

13.12.2019 – More and more of our activities take place online nowadays, which means that the ability to navigate the digital world securely is becoming increasingly important. Is that confidential email really from our superior? Is that really our bank’s website we’re using to make those online payments? When we take a closer look, it soon becomes clear that the digital world is by no means as secure as we like to think.

Professors David Basin, Peter Müller and Adrian Perrig from the ETH Department of Computer Science and their project partner Matthew Smith from the University of Bonn are aiming to develop a fundamentally new security architecture that will allow trustworthy data exchange. The ambitious initiative is being supported by a CHF 9.83 million donation from the Werner Siemens Foundation. The researchers are attempting to create digital equivalents for real-world indicators of trust – such as handshakes – to ensure that trust becomes a key part of processing transactions in the future. The project builds on the existing wealth of expertise of ETH in the area of data and cybersecurity and gives it additional impetus.

The generous donation for the Centre for Digital Trust marks the start of the fifth chapter in the long-term partnership with the Werner Siemens Foundation. In 2004, the Foundation helped to create a flexible auditorium in the HIT building on the Hönggerberg campus (the Werner Siemens Auditorium). In 2013, it provided kick-start financing for a new professorship in the field of geothermal energy, a post to which Professor Martin O. Saar was appointed in 2015. In 2017, it enabled the establishment of the Centre for Single Atom Electronics and Photonics, which is headed by Professor Jürg Leuthold and aims to make data exchange more effective, energy-efficient and space-saving using atomic-scale technology. In 2018, the Werner Siemens Foundation played a significant role in funding the construction of the Bedretto underground laboratory. Led by Professor Domenico Giardini, the lab carries out research into the dynamics of earthquakes and the safe harnessing of geothermal heat.

Further information: ETH News: A question of trust


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