While public key cryptography is seen as revolutionary, after this talk you might wonder why it took Whit Diffie, Ralph Merkle and Hellman so long to discover it. This talk also highlights the contributions of some unsung (or "under-sung") heroes: Ralph Merkle, John Gill, Stephen Pohlig, Richard Schroeppel, Loren Kohnfelder, and researchers at GCHQ (Ellis, Cocks, and Williamson).
Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and is affiliated with the university's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). His recent technical work has focused on bringing a risk informed framework to a potential failure of nuclear deterrence and then using that approach to find surprising ways to reduce the risk. His earlier work included co-inventing public key cryptography, the technology that underlies the secure portion of the Internet. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering and receiving (jointly with his colleague Whit Diffie) the million dollar ACM Turing Award, the top prize in computer science. His most recent project is a book, jointly written with his wife of fifty years, "A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet," that provides a "unified field theory" of peace by illuminating the connections between nuclear war, conventional war, interpersonal war, and war within our own psyches.