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Len Adleman and Collaborators Win Top Award in Field Their Initials Named

RSA designates both the key information security algorithm and and the biggest annual information security conference

February 17, 2011 —

RSA® Conference (www.rsaconference.com)  announced the honorees of its annual awards program Feb. 15 at its 2011 gathering in San Francisco. That list included lifetime achievement awards for the Viterbi School's Leonard Adleman and his former collaborators Ronald L. Rivest and Adi Shamir.

RSA: (from left) Ronald L. Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adelman at San Francisco award ceremony February 15. Photo by Steve Maller, courtesy RSA® Conference.
The trio are pioneers in public key cryptography, responsible for developing the encryption method that became known, following their intitials, as the RSA algorithm. Used to secure Internet, banking and credit card transactions worldwide, the RSA algorithm has become the standard technology in the fi securing the majority of commerce since its publication in 1978.

Adleman holds the Henry Salvatori Chair in Computer Science in the Viterbi School and also has an appointment in biological sciences.  He pioneered the use of DNA as a computational medium.

He is a co-winner of the Turing Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize in computer science, and a member of all three national academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The trio at the time of RSA's creation

Ronald L. Rivest is the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

Adi Shamir is Professor, Computer Science Department, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel