ACM Awards Raluca Ada Popa, President and Founder of Opaque Systems and UC Berkeley PhD, the 2021 Grace Murray Hopper Award

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Opaque Systems, the company pioneering Confidential AI and Analytics which enables collaborative analytics and AI for confidential computing, announced its president and co-founder Raluca Ada Popa, MS, PhD, is the recipient of the 2021 AMC Grace Murray Hopper Award. Raluca Ada Popa is recognized for her exceptional impact and contributions to building secure systems focused on protecting the confidentiality of data stored on remote servers including recent open sourced innovation MC2

The ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award is given to outstanding computer professionals selected on the basis of a single recent major technical or service contribution. This prestigious honor comes at a time when confidential computing is experiencing increasing market demand across Global 2000 organizations.  The Everest Group predicts that confidential computing will grow to a $54B market by 2026. Popa is accelerating innovation with her company, Opaque Systems, that raised its $22M Series A funding in June. Opaque provides the first end-to-end platform for Confidential AI and Analytics that enables multi-party collaboration on analytics and machine learning directly on encrypted data stored in Trusted Execution Environments (TEE’s).

“Raluca’s work is invaluable to the field of confidential computing, her research and innovation in confidential AI and Analytics is instrumental to the future of confidential computing” said Ion Stoica, Opaque co-founder and board member. “The Opaque Systems team is proud of her outstanding accomplishments, innovation and leadership.”

Created by Popa and the other Opaque Systems co-founders after extensive research in the RISELab at UC Berkeley, the MC2 open source project and the Opaque Platform addresses a key, previously unaddressed challenge with confidential computing: running secure, multi-party collaboration on analytics and machine learning/artificial intelligence on encrypted data. Now organizations can store their confidential data in confidential computing cloud environments and enable multiple teams to run analytics and machine learning on encrypted data while protecting what is revealed to each party. As a result, Opaque Systems is unlocking key business cases across industries such as anti-money laundering, disease prediction and prevention, privacy-based ad solutions and more.

“I am delighted to receive the 2021 ACM Grace Murray Hopper award,” said Popa. “I have dedicated my academic and professional career to security, systems and applied cryptography, and this recognition is an honor. I look forward to continuing my work with the Opaque Systems team as we push the frontiers of Confidential AI and Analytics and unlock the full potential of confidential computing.” 

Popa received her Masters of Engineering in Computer Science in 2010 from MIT and in 2014, she completed her Ph.D. in computer science, also at MIT. Her thesis was titled “Building Practical Systems That Compute on Encrypted Data,” which received the 2014 George Sprowls Ph.D. Thesis Award from the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Outside her role with Opaque, Popa is an associate professor at University of California Berkeley, where she teaches courses in computer science and cryptography. 

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