IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010 - 12

I E E E

M E D A L S

2010 IEEE
Richard W. Hamming Medal
Sponsored by QUALCOMM, Inc

Whitfield Diffie, Martin E. Hellman and Ralph C. Merkle

For the invention of public key cryptography
and its application to secure communications

Drs. Diffie, Hellman and Merkle's concept of public key
cryptography allows the exchange to take place over the
same insecure channel as the message itself without any
secret prearrangement between the transmitter and
receiver, creating many more avenues for secure communications. Their invention has enabled the proliferation of
e-commerce over the Internet, an otherwise insecure
communication channel, and has allowed electronic communications to replace a large portion of paper-based
communications.

The development of public key cryptography by
Whitfield Diffie, Martin E. Hellman and Ralph C.
Merkle revolutionized the field of cryptography and
has provided the security needed to enable safe commercial applications of the Internet. The trio's work
represented academia's first contribution to what was
once the research domain of government and military
intelligence organizations. Whenever someone uses
the Internet to make a purchase, submit personal information or needs to connect to a virtual private
network, it is the security provided by public key
cryptography that protects the sensitive data from
prying eyes and enables the use of digital signatures
to verify identity. Prior to the development of public
key cryptography in 1976, the keys used to encrypt
information needed to be exchanged over a secure,
or private, communications channel before the
encrypted information could be transferred over an
insecure channel.

An IEEE Member, Dr. Diffie was chief security officer at
Sun Microsystems until 2009 and is currently visiting
scholar at Stanford University and chief cryptographer of
Revere Security of Dallas Texas. An IEEE Fellow, Dr.
Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at
Stanford University, Calif. An IEEE Member, Dr. Merkle is
currently a senior research fellow at the Institute for
Molecular Manufacturing, Palo Alto, Calif.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010

IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010 - Cover1
IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010 - Cover2
IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010 - 1
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IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010 - Cover3
IEEE Awards Booklet - 2010 - Cover4
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