Raluca Ada Popa

Raluca Ada Popa

Robert E. and Beverly A. Brooks Associate Professor, UC Berkeley
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
UC Berkeley
Address: 729 Soda Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720
Email: raluca AT eecs DOT berkeley DOT edu

I am an associate professor at UC Berkeley. I am interested in security, systems, and applied cryptography.
I co-founded and co-direct the RISELab and SkyLab, labs aiming to build secure intelligent systems for the cloud and for the sky of clouds, respectively, and the DARE program for promoting diversity and equity. As faculty, I was awarded the ACM Grace Murray Hopper award 2021, a Sloan Research Fellowship, J. Lepreau Best Paper Award, Distinguished Paper Award, J. and D. Gray Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Computer Science, Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, NSF CAREER, Bakar Faculty Fellowship, and I was selected to the list of 35 innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review.

Starting with 2021, I have been a co-founder and the President of Opaque Systems.
Starting with 2015, I have been a co-founder (and served as CTO) of PreVeil.

Before joining UC Berkeley, I did a one-year postdoc at ETH Zürich in the System Security group led by Srdjan Capkun. Before that, in 2014, I completed my Ph.D. in computer science at MIT, my thesis being about building practical systems that compute on encrypted data. My PhD thesis was awarded a George M. Sprowls Award for best MIT CS doctoral theses. My advisor was Nickolai Zeldovich, and I was also fortunate to work closely with Hari Balakrishnan in systems, and with Shafi Goldwasser, Yael Kalai, and Vinod Vaikuntanathan in cryptography. I earned my Masters of Engineering in Computer Science in 2010 and my two Bachelors in Computer Science and Mathematics in 2009 also from MIT.

PhD advisees:


In addition, I have been working with a wonderful group of undergraduates and masters students.

My students and I focus on building secure systems with the help of modern cryptography. Instead of relying on a server that becomes a central point of attack, our research provides cryptographic guarantees of privacy or integrity even if the server is compromised.



CS161: Computer Security, Spring 2023, undergraduate, ≈700 students

CS294-163: Secure Systems from Decentralized Trust, Fall 2022, graduate

CS 161: Computer Security, Fall 2021, undergraduate

CS 276: Cryptography and Applications, Fall 2020, graduate

CS 161: Computer Security, Spring 2020, undergraduate, ≈620 students

CS 294: Decentralized Security: Theory and Systems, Fall 2019, graduate, NEW COURSE

CS 161: Computer Security, Spring 2019, undergraduate, ≈600 students

CS 261: Security in Computer Systems, Fall 2018, graduate

CS 161: Computer Security, Spring 2018, undergraduate, ≈625 students

CS 261: Security in Computer Systems, Fall 2017, graduate

CS 161: Computer Security, Fall 2016, undergraduate, ≈380 students

CS 294: RISE Lab: Real-time, Intelligent, and Secure Systems, Fall 2016, graduate, NEW COURSE

CS 161: Computer Security, Spring 2016, undergraduate, ≈500 students

CS 261: Security in Computer Systems, Fall 2015, graduate

As professor:

As graduate student:

As undergraduate student:


In early 2019, I launched , a diversity program aiming to match strong undergraduates, many from underrepresented backgrounds, with EECS professors for research. With help from EECS, we developed a web application system for DARE. As of June 2020, 30 professors are part of DARE, and a total of about 41 undergraduate students, many from underrepresented backgrounds, have engaged in research with EECS faculty.


I am a Program Chair and organizer of CCS 2020 workshop PPMLP: Privacy-preserving machine learning in practice.

PC committees