Martin Hellman life and biography

Martin Hellman picture, image, poster

Martin Hellman biography

Date of birth : 1945-10-02
Date of death : -
Birthplace : New York City
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-10-04
Credited as : Inventor, Diffie-Hellman-Merkle key exchange, National Inventors Hall of Fame

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Cryptologist Martin Hellman was the co-inventor, with Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle in 1976, of public key cryptography (PKC). The Diffie-Hellman-Merkle key exchange system is used in protocols including the Secure Sockets Layer and Secure Shell, which allow secure processing of transactions on theinternet. PKC uses a "public key" and a "private key", allowing implementation of digital signatures and an encryption algorithm without requiring that sender and receiver first exchange a secret key.

Hellman has been a long-time contributor to the computer privacy debate, starting with the issue of DES key size in 1975 and culminating with service (1994-96) on the National Research Council's Committee to Study National Cryptographic Policy, whose main recommendations have since been implemented.

Hellman has been active in researching international security since 1985. His current project in this area is to defuse the Nuclear threat. In particular, Hellman is studying the probabilities and risks associated with nuclear weapons and encouraging further international research in this area. His website NuclearRisk.org has been endorsed by a number of prominent individuals including a former Director of the National Security Agency, Stanford's President Emeritus, and two Nobel Laureates.

In 1997 he was awarded The Franklin Institute's Louis E. Levy Medal, in 1981 the IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award (together with Whitfield Diffie), in 1998 a Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation from the IEEE Information Theory Society, and in 2010 he was awarded the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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