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Implementing Prêt à Voter - March 16, 2011

It is our pleasure to host this distinguished lecture by Prof. Steve Schneider, University of Surrey. The lecture will be followed by a reception. Please feel free to forward this invitation.

Abstract: The Prêt à Voter system design was first proposed in 2004 as an end-to-end voter verifiable voting system.  Its design has been refined several times since then, and it has been subjected to a variety of security analyses which give confidence in the security guarantees it offers.  The `Trustworthy Voting Systems‘ project (2009-2013), in which Surrey is a partner, has as one of its aims to develop and trial a prototype.  This line of investigation has already identified a whole range of new and unexpected issues ranging from sociological issues, legal and political difficulties, human factors, through to new and unforseen technological challenges.

In this talk, Steve Schneider will describe the progress of the implementation project to date.  He will cover Prêt à Voter design and prototype, the experiences (positive and negative!) that the project team have had to date from working with focus groups and others, and the range of issues that have arisen from the need to produce a working implementation.  The talk will consider the tension between remaining faithful to the security requirements while making the system acceptable to the general population.  The experience to date reinforces the adage that in theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

Prof.Steve Schneider is Professor of Computing at the University of Surrey, where he was the Head of Department of Computing from 2004-2010.  He was previously at Royal Holloway, University of London. His current research focus is in the area of secure voting systems, where he is involved in a research project involving the development and implementation of verifiably secure voting systems.  Other research interests include concurrency theory, formal methods, and their application to the modelling and analysis of security properties and protocols.  He obtained his bachelors degree (1987) and his doctoral degree (1990) from the University of Oxford.