Ralph C. Merkle (born February 2, 1952) is an American computer scientist and mathematician. He is one of the inventors of public-key cryptography, the inventor of cryptographic hashing, and more recently a researcher and speaker on cryonics.
|Born||February 2, 1952|
Berkeley, California, US
|Awards||IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (2010) |
Computer History Museum Fellow (2011)
|Fields||Public key cryptography, cryonics|
|Thesis||Secrecy, authentication and public key systems|
|Doctoral advisor||Martin Hellman|
Merkle is a renowned cryptographer, known for devising Merkle's Puzzles, co-inventing the Merkle–Hellman knapsack cryptosystem, and inventing cryptographic hashing (Merkle–Damgård construction) and Merkle trees. He has worked as a manager at Elxsi, research scientist at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), and a nanotechnology theorist at Zyvex. Merkle has held positions as a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, senior research fellow at IMM, faculty member at Singularity University, and board member at Alcor Life Extension Foundation. He received the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal in 2010 and has published works on molecular manipulation and self-replicating machines. Ralph Merkle is a grandnephew of baseball star Fred Merkle and is married to video game designer Carol Shaw. He also serves on the board of directors for the cryonics organization Alcor Life Extension Foundation and appears in the science fiction novel The Diamond Age.
While an undergraduate, Merkle devised Merkle's Puzzles, a scheme for communication over an insecure channel, as part of a class project. The scheme is now recognized to be an early example of public key cryptography. He co-invented the Merkle–Hellman knapsack cryptosystem, invented cryptographic hashing (now called the Merkle–Damgård construction based on a pair of articles published 10 years later that established the security of the scheme), and invented Merkle trees. The Merkle–Damgård construction is at the heart of many hashing algorithms. While at Xerox PARC, Merkle designed the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers, and the Snefru hash function.
Merkle was the manager of compiler development at Elxsi from 1980. In 1988, he became a research scientist at Xerox PARC. In 1999 he became a nanotechnology theorist for Zyvex. In 2003 he became a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, where he led the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. In 2006 he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has been a senior research fellow at IMM, a faculty member at Singularity University, and a board member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. He was awarded the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal in 2010. He is active in the field of molecular manipulation and self-replicating machines and has published books on the subject.
Personal life edit
Ralph Merkle is a grandnephew of baseball star Fred Merkle; son of Theodore Charles Merkle, director of Project Pluto; and brother of Judith Merkle Riley, a historical writer. Merkle is married to Carol Shaw, the video game designer best known for the 1982 Atari 2600 game, River Raid.
- 1996 Paris Kanellakis Award (from the ACM) for the Invention of Public Key Cryptography.
- 1998 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for computational modeling of molecular tools for atomically-precise chemical reactions
- 1999 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award
- 2000 RSA Award for Excellence in Mathematics for the invention of public key cryptography.
- 2008 International Association for Cryptographic Research (IACR) fellow for the invention of public key cryptography.
- 2010 IEEE Hamming Medal for the invention of public key cryptography
- 2011 Computer History Museum Fellow "for his work, with Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, on public key cryptography."
- 2011 National Inventors Hall of Fame, for the invention of public key cryptography
- 2012 National Cyber Security Hall of Fame inductee
- Ralph Merkle 2011 Fellow Archived 2013-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
- Merkle, R. C. (1988). "A Digital Signature Based on a Conventional Encryption Function". Advances in Cryptology – CRYPTO '87. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 293. pp. 369–378. doi:10.1007/3-540-48184-2_32. ISBN 978-3-540-18796-7.
- Garfinkel, Simson (1994). Pretty Good Privacy. O'Reilly and Associates.
- Ilya Mironov. "Hash Functions: From Merkle–Damgård to Shoup" (PDF).
- intrigano. "Cryptofraphy (sic) The Merkle Damgard Paradigm collision resistance". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
- "Cybersecurity Pioneer Selected to Lead Information Security Center at Georgia Tech" (Press release). Georgia Institute of Technology. July 15, 2003. Archived from the original on September 5, 2006. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
- "IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
- Merkle, Ralph; Freitas, Robert (2004). Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines (978-1570596902 ed.). Landes Bioscience. ISBN 1570596905.
- "Ralph C. Merkle". ralphmerkle.com. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
My wife is Carol Shaw. My sister, Judith Merkle Riley, wrote historical novels. My father, Theodore Charles Merkle, ran Project Pluto. My great uncle was Fred Merkle, of baseball fame.
- "Alcor Board of Directors". Alcor Life Extension Foundation. September 1, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- "Ralph Merkle - Award Winner". ACM. Archived from the original on April 2, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "1998 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology". Foresight.org. September 4, 1998. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award". IEEE. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Information Security, Governance, Risk, and Compliance - EMC". RSA. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Ralph Merkle, IACR Fellow". Iacr.org. 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "CISAC's scholars awarded for invention of public key cryptography". Stanford University. December 9, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Computer History Museum | Fellow Awards - Ralph Merkle". Computerhistory.org. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Invent Now | Hall of Fame | Induction | 2011 Inductees". Invent.org. February 2, 1952. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Ralph C. Merkle, Secrecy, authentication, and public key systems (Computer science), UMI Research Press, 1982, ISBN 0-8357-1384-9.
- Robert A. Freitas Jr., Ralph C. Merkle, Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, Landes Bioscience, 2004, ISBN 1-57059-690-5.
- Paul Kantor (Ed), Gheorghe Mureşan (Ed), Fred Roberts (Ed), Daniel Zeng (Ed), Frei-Yue Wang (Ed), Hsinchun Chen (Ed), Ralph Merkle (Ed), "Intelligence and Security Informatics" : IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics, ISI 2005, Atlanta, GA, US, May 19–20, ... (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), Springer, 2005, ISBN 3-540-25999-6.
- Interview at Google Videos in the Death in the Deep Freeze documentary (August 2, 2006)
- Nova Southeastern University, Nanotechnology Expert Ralph Merkle to Speak on "Life and Death" (August 2008)
- Oral history interview with Martin Hellman – from 2004, Palo Alto, California. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Hellman describes his invention of public key cryptography with collaborators Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle at Stanford University in the mid-1970s. He also relates his subsequent work in cryptography with Steve Pohlig (the Pohlig–Hellman system) and others.