Time: July 5, 2018
Venue: Qiushi Lecture Hall inside Zhejiang University Zijingang Campus
Host: Professor Ren Kui, Director of the Network Security Research Center of Zhejiang University
Speaker: Whitfield Diffie
Title: The History of Cryptography Leading to Blockchain
About Whitfield Diffie
Dr. Whitfield Diffie is a pioneer in cryptography and a legend in security. As one of the world's greatest cryptographers, he is the co-creator of public-key cryptography and digital signature mechanism. Diffie-Hellman, the first key exchange mechanism based on public key encryption, was named after him and his collaborators. Public key cryptography is the underlying core algorithm of modern cryptography, it forms the cornerstone of current cryptographic systems and security protocols along with digital signatures. Simply put, the security of today's digital world owes to Dr. Diffie's research. Without Dr. Diffie's work, we won’t be able to securely authenticate logins, send/receive emails or make online payments. Because of Dr. Diffie's ground-breaking contribution in the security field, he won the world's highest computing award in 2015 - the Turing Award, also known as the “Nobel Prize of the computer science”.
Since the concept of the public key cryptography algorithm was so advanced and innovative, the National Security Agency had issued a warning to Dr. Diffie to terminate the study because they could not understand its significance and technical details. They even went as far as to threaten Dr. Diffie with imprisonment in order to shut down his study. This was the first confrontation in the crypto war between the US government and the general public. Later, the wide application of his findings in the field of computing and the Internet witnessed the victory and great significance of Dr. Diffie's research, and also demonstrated his noble spirit in scientific exploration.
Dr. Diffie earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a doctorate in science from the University of London at Royal Holloway. Dr. Diffie is also a famous mathematician, computer scientist and writer. He has received a number of high honors and awards. He is foreign member of the Royal Society, winner of the IEEE Hamming Medal, and a winner of the Louis E Levy Medal from the Franklin Institute.
Dr. Diffie is still active on the front line of the cybersecurity research. As the chief scientist of Cryptic Lab, he is working to address the key issues of development and reliability in the most cutting-edge direction of the current security landscape, the blockchain.