Cryptography Pioneers Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman Named 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award Recipients

ACM has named Whitfield Diffie and Martin E. Hellman co-recipients of the 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award for fundamental contributions to modern cryptography. Diffie and Hellman’s groundbreaking 1976 paper, “New Directions in Cryptography,” introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures, which are the foundation for most regularly-used security protocols on the internet today. The Diffie-Hellman Protocol protects daily internet communications and trillions of dollars in financial transactions.

Whitfield Diffie is a former Vice President and Chief Security Officer of Sun Microsystems, where he became a Sun Fellow. Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, where he was Professor of Electrical Engineering for 25 years. Diffie and Hellman are co-recipients of the 1996 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award (with Leonard Adleman, Ralph Merkle, Ronald Rivest and Adi Shamir). They are also Marconi Fellows and Fellows of the Computer History Museum.

The ACM Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” carries a $1 million prize with financial support provided by Google, Inc. It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing and who was a key contributor to the Allied cryptoanalysis of the German Enigma cipher during World War II.

ACM will present the 2015 A.M. Turing Award at its annual Awards Banquet on June 11 in San Francisco, California.

Article published in the ACM Bulletin