Chinese financial services firm Ant Group and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have begun a research collaboration to explore privacy-preserving computing technology innovations.

The one-year-long collaboration will focus on Private Set Intersection (PSI), a cryptographic protocol that allows parties to compute the intersection of their private datasets without revealing anything beyond the intersection, to ensure the privacy of all parties, Ant Group said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the collaboration aims to increase the practical capability and security of PSI, optimize its efficiency, and develop applications for real-world use cases.

NTU Singapore’s Strategic Centre for Research in Privacy-Preserving Technologies & Systems (SCRIPTS) and its expertise in privacy-preserving computing, combined with Ant Group’s research and development capabilities, and deep industry insights, are expected to push the frontiers of this emerging field.

“We are excited to join hands with NTU Singapore to promote research into privacy-preserving computing technologies, including PSI, and support technical innovations in Singapore,” said Jerry Yin, Chief Technology Officer of International Business at Ant Group.

“We believe that this university-industry collaborated research will accelerate the development of privacy-preserving computing, and pave the way for new applications to unlock greater value in the digitalization of industry collaboration,” he said.

According to the statement, Ant Group has been active in exploring technological innovation in privacy- preserving computing in recent years.

Cited IPR Daily and incoPat, it said Ant Group topped the list of patent applications for privacy-preserving computing technologies in 2022, with 1,152 filed patent applications.

In July 2022, Ant Group announced the open source of its privacy-preserving computation framework, aiming to make the technologies more accessible to global developers and accelerate its application in various scenarios.

Since its launch in 2016, the framework has integrated comprehensive privacy- preserving technologies such as multi-party secure computation, federated learning, homomorphic encryption, differential privacy, zero-knowledge proof, and trusted execution environment, and has been implemented in multiple use cases including healthcare, insurance, and risk management.

Ant Group (formerly known as Ant Financial) is an affiliate company of the Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group.

The firm aims to build the infrastructure and platforms to support the digital transformation of the service industry.

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