Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Adi Shamir (born 1952) is an Israeli cryptographer. He was one of the inventors of the RSA algorithm (along with Ron Rivest and Len Adleman), and has made numerous contributions to the fields of cryptography and computer science.
Born in Tel-Aviv, Shamir received a BS in Mathematics from Tel-Aviv University in 1973 and obtained his MSc and PhD in Computer Science from the Weizmann Institute in 1975 and 1977 respectively. His thesis was titled, "Fixed Points of Recursive Programs". After a year postdoc at Warwick University, he did research at MIT from 1977–1980 before returning to be a member of the faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science of the Weizmann Institute.
In addition to RSA, Shamir's other numerous inventions and contributions to cryptography include the Shamir secret sharing scheme, the breaking of the Merkle-Hellman cryptosystem, visual cryptography, and the TWIRL and TWINKLE factoring devices. Together with Eli Biham, he discovered differential cryptanalysis, a general method for attacking block ciphers. (It later emerged that differential cryptanalysis was already known — and kept a secret — by both IBM and the NSA.)
In recognition of his contributions to cryptography, Shamir was awarded, together with Rivest and Adleman, the 2002 ACM Turing Award. Shamir has also received CM's Kannelakis Award, the Erdös Prize of the Israel Mathematical Society, the IEEE's W.R.G. Baker Prize, the UAP Scientific Prize, The Vatican's PIUS XI Gold Medal and the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award.
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