The 2020 ETAPS Test of Time Award went to

Geoffrey Smith

for his FoSSaCS 2009 paper

On the Foundations of Quantitative Information Flow [doi link].

Smith’s paper represents a cornerstone in the field of Secure Information Flow. Before this paper, the community widely relied on Shannon Entropy to represent the (lack of) knowledge of the adversary about the secret. In his paper Smith showed, in his lucid and crystal-clear style, that a realistic notion of adversary with limited attack opportunities is more suitably modeled by Rényi min-entropy. The message, in its simplicity and the evidence of the arguments, completely convinced the community. The paper became the starting point of a systematic study of entropies and vulnerabilities for quantitative information flow, and has had a deep influence on the field–for instance in the work of Mario Alvim, Gilles Barthe, Michele Boreale, Kostas Chatzikokolakis, Yusuke Kawamoto, Boris Köpf, Annabelle McIver, Carroll Morgan, Catuscia Palamidessi and Tachio Terauchi. Indeed it is fair to say that it caused a shift in the community; most of the subsequent works on quantitative information flow in this area have adopted the new model, and the paper is highly cited.

The paper was also the starting point of the so-called g-leakage framework, which is on the cutting edge of the research on Quantitative Information Flow. In a sense, the g-leakage approach is the natural evolution of the min-entropy approach.

The 2020 award committee consisted of

Rance Cleaveland
Ugo Dal Lago
Marieke Huisman
Tiziana Margaria
Don Sannella (chair)
Gabriele Taentzer
Peter Thiemann

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