January 9, 2020

Facebook announces new research awards at Real World Crypto 2020

By: Meta Research

Today, Facebook announced a new research award opportunity at the Real World Crypto (RWC) Symposium. Taking place in New York City from January 8 to January 10, the RWC Symposium aims to foster a community between cryptography researchers and those who implement cryptography in real-world scenarios, with the goal of encouraging a dialogue between the two groups.

With a similar goal in mind, Facebook’s new request for proposals (RFP) aims to strengthen the relationship among cryptographers in the academic community and to garner new ideas that will help to solve privacy challenges pertaining to ads.

The role of applied cryptography in a privacy-focused advertising ecosystem

At Facebook, we are passionate about connecting people with the businesses they care most about. To help build the best experience for the billions of people across Facebook’s family of apps, we rely on the application of statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and A/B experimentation to personalize their journey.

One of the areas we’re increasingly focused on at Facebook is how we can design our products and services in ways that preserve privacy while still making meaningful statistical inferences from data. With advancements in cryptography and computation, we seek to enable equivalent (and unlock new) functionality while maintaining or enhancing technical guarantees of user-level privacy.

With this new RFP, we are seeking solutions that address the following topics within advertising: analysis of experiments; addressing nonresponse bias and missing data; complex statistical and machine learning models; causal inference with observational data; as well as record linkage and matching individuals across channels. Updates to inferences may range from daily to hourly, and be conducted with a small number of active data-controlling parties to necessitating a distributed approach with billions of individual browsers or devices.

We are particularly interested in applications that use one or more of the following privacy-enhancing technologies in their research proposal (we are also open to applications leveraging technologies not listed below):

  • Differential privacy
  • Secure multiparty computation
  • Homomorphic encryption
  • Federated learning
  • Zero-knowledge proofs
  • Secure aggregation
  • Trusted execution environments

For more information and to apply, please visit the application page. The deadline to apply is February 20, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. AOE.