Rebekah Mercer

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This is me and some garlic bread.


I’m currently a PhD student under Claudio Orlandi and Ivan Damgård. (They are both infinitely cooler than me.) I started in August 2017.

In its most succinct form, my education history looks like this:

Fun facts, in reverse chronological order

My master’s thesis was based on privacy in cryptocurrencies, and resulted in a paper on HD key management techniques and one introducing a ring signature mixer for ethereum. This included implementing one out of many proofs (here). It also led me to start supervising my favourite intern for the Ethereum Foundation, and implementing other fun things on ethereum and (practically) Turing-complete blockchains.

My introduction to programming began in the third year of my BSc when I started a Code First: Girls chapter in Manchester. It was here that I was taught by @echesters that you can have a serious career while also being a completely hilarious human. I thought I’d mastered programming and so applied for an MSc at UCL and an incredibly generous scholarship to cover my entire MSc tuition fees. I miraculously was offered both and thought I’d conquered the world. I was then immediately introduced to assembly and realised HTML isn’t actually even a programming language, and I have been fully submerged in the world of computer science ever since :)

Also I went to an all boys’ school for my final year of high school, because my school didn’t teach physics or further maths and I needed them to get into uni. My BSc transcript is pretty eclectic but I was somehow awarded an academic achievement scholarship every semester. My bachelor’s project was on random number generation. I used an online C compiler, it was so much fun.


I’ve taught the following:


I mostly think about privacy, and especially executing/computing functions privately while in a fully adversarial environment (think dishonest majority and active adversaries, or alternatively a blockchain environment, or if you’re feeling really pessimistic, the world). Sometimes I think about privacy preserving machine learning too.

My published research includes the following: