George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Krzysztof Gaj

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Contact Information MORE LESS

  • 703-993-1575 (office)
  • Nguyen Engineering Building, 3225
    4400 University Drive, MS 1G5
    Fairfax, VA 22030

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Krzysztof (Kris) Gaj received the MSc and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Warsaw University of Technology. As the founder of a technology company in his native country of Poland, he generated cryptographic software applications for Polish financial institutions. In 1998, he joined the ECE Department at Mason, where he currently co-directs the Cryptographic Engineering Research Group – CERG - one of the largest and most widely recognized applied-cryptography groups in the United States. His major research projects have been devoted to evaluation of ciphers competing to become new American and international standards. Gaj and his team compare these ciphers from the point of view of their performance in hardware and embedded systems. His work was instrumental in selecting Rijndael as a new Advanced Encryption Standard - AES, and Keccak as a new cryptographic hash function standard – SHA-3. He is currently involved in two new cryptographic competitions - CAESAR and Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC). The latter of them is related to the rise of quantum computers, which may one day wipe out the majority of modern cryptography as we know it. As a result, researchers, such as Gaj, are working right now to find a suitable replacement.

In his college years, Gaj wrote a book on the German Enigma machine and the techniques and machines used to break Hitler’s code before and during World War II. Although his research interests shifted afterward to modern cryptography, he still incorporates the story of Enigma into his classes on encryption and codebreaking.

Gaj leads students to greater understanding and acuity in advanced digital system design, software/hardware codesign, and cryptography in a variety of senior and graduate courses. Beyond the classroom, Gaj interacts with numerous international professionals and academic communities in his field of research.

Read more about Dr. Gaj's research in the ECE Newsletter.


PhD, Electrical Engineering , Warsaw University of Technology

MS, Electrical Engineering , Warsaw University of Technology

More Information

Faculty Rank: Professor

Personal Websites:


2018 - 2022 : Countermeasures Against Side-Channels Attacks Targeting Hardware and Embedded System Implementations of Post-Quantum Cryptographic Algorithms. Funded by National Science Foundation.

2018 - 2021: Post-Quantum Cryptography in Hardware and Embedded Systems. Funded by U.S, Department of Commerce (NIST).

2017 - 2020: IoT Circuit Locking, Obfuscation & Authentication Kernel (CLOAK) - A Compilable Architecture for Secure IoT Device Production, Testing, Activation & Operation. Funded by National Science Foundation.

Research Interests

Computer and Network Security, Cryptography, VLSI and Embedded Systems

Honors & Awards

Outstanding Faculty Award for contributions to the development and success of the Computer Engineering programs, ECE Department

The Diploma of Appreciation for Outstanding Contribution on the George Mason University ATHENA Project in Support of the SHA-3 Competition , The Computer Security Division, NIST

Outstanding Teaching Award, Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering