Ralph Merkle

American cryptographer / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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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.

Quick facts: Ralph Merkle, Born, Education, Known for...
Ralph Merkle
Merkle at the Singularity Summit 2007
Born (1952-02-02) February 2, 1952 (age 72)
Berkeley, California, US
Known for
SpouseCarol Shaw
AwardsIEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (2010)
Computer History Museum Fellow (2011)[2]
Scientific career
FieldsPublic key cryptography, cryonics
ThesisSecrecy, authentication and public key systems
Doctoral advisorMartin 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 serves on the board of directors of the cryonics organization Alcor Life Extension Foundation and appears in the science fiction novel The Diamond Age.

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