The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced on October 2, 2012 the selection of KECCAK as the winner of the SHA-3 Cryptographic Hash Algorithm Competition and the new SHA-3 hash algorithm.
Keccak makes use of the sponge construction and is hence a sponge function family.
The design philosophy of Keccak is the hermetic sponge strategy. It uses the sponge construction for having provable security against all generic attacks. It calls a permutation that should not have structural properties with the exception of a compact description. By structural properties we mean properties that a typical random permutation does not have.
You will notice that Joan Daemen was also the co-author of Rijndael, the chosen algorithm for Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Quite a record of success! And AES was announced on October 2, 2000, precisely 12 years ago. Interesting coincidence.
Congratulations to Keccak team and to NIST!