He is Professor at the University of Luxembourg since 2003, and was its Vice-President during 10 years after having been the dean of its faculty of law, economics and finance. As vice-president, he was in charge of the conceptual organization of the new campus of the University in Belval (the largest real-estate project of the country, ca. 1 Bn €), organization, international relations and rankings. Before coming to Luxembourg, he previously held academic positions in France (CNRS Paris, University Joseph Fourier Grenoble), and in Germany (Max Planck-Institut für Mathematik Bonn, Technische Universität Berlin). He holds a PhD and a Habilitation in Mathematics. He was member of the board of LuxTrust S.A. from 2005 to 2016.
Luxtrust, a company funded by the State, the SNCI (the national Fund) and the major banks present in the country, is the national trusted-third party for digital certificates and provides a shared infrastructure for online banking. Between January 2010 and December 2014, he was member of the scientific Board of the Fonds National de la Recherche, the national funding agency for research. He was 2016-2017 member of the Steering Committee of UNICA, the network of universities from the capitals of Europe (46 universities from 35 capital cities in Europe, combining over 150,000 staff, and 1,800,000 students). Part of the year 2016 is also devoted to a sabbatical period at the European Investment Bank and (as invited professor and senior advisor for internationalization) at the Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University. While on sabbatical, he remains in charge of the rankings of the University of Luxembourg. The University of Luxembourg is N° 178 for the World University Ranking, the most international worldwide, and N° 11 among the universities less than 50 years of age according to Times Higher Education. His scientific background is in mathematics and cryptology. He also is international consultant for universities. Franck Leprévost speaks French, English, German, and currently learns Russian. He is a playwright in his free time (last play: "La chambre des larmes", on stage in Luxembourg in February 2018, text available in French and Russian on Amazon.com).
JAMES BOND'S MOST SECRET WEAPON
Prof. Franck Leprevost
Before creating James Bond in 1952, Ian Fleming (1908-1964) conducted intelligence activities for the UK. During WW2, among other things, he initiated the so-called "Operation Ruthless", a plan aiming to obtain the Enigma codes used by the German Navy. The plan was never implemented, much to the annoyance of Alan Turing, who was at that time heading the cipher school at Bletchley Park.
Nowadays it is known that the efforts made by the team of mathematicians at Bletchley Park to break Enigma saved numerous lives, and probably shorten the war. Since this dramatic period, security of communications has known a huge development, even a kind of "revolution" in the mid 1970's.
If during thousands of years symmetric-key cryptography mainly dominated the way messages were safely exchanged, the mid-1970's saw the emergence of a new concept: Public-Key Cryptography.
Cryptology progressively left the sphere of art to become a science. The security of public-key cryptosystems relies on the difficulty to solve mathematical problems. Nowadays, there are mainly two problems used in this setting: the Integer Factorization Problem (IFP) and the Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP) in well-chosen groups. In the mid-1980's, Koblitz and Miller (independently) proposed to use elliptic curves, and defined the Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm Problem (ECDLP). According to today's knowledge, ECDLP is algorithmically safer than the other public-key crypto-systems.
The increasing importance of mathematics in secure communications a posteriori legitimates the provocative title of this hopefully beautifully illustrated and entertaining conference.