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Leonard Adleman (born December 31, 1945) is a theoretical computer scientist and professor of computer science and molecular biology at the University of Southern California. He is known for being the inventor of the RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) cryptosystem in 1977, and of DNA computing. RSA is now ubiquitous in security applications, including digital signatures.
Adleman attended the
University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Bachelor's degree in 1968 and his Ph.D in 1976.
1994, his paper Molecular Computation of Solutions To Combinatorial Problems described the experimental use of DNA as a computational system. In it, he solved a seven-node instance of the Hamiltonian Graph problem, an NP-Complete problem similar to the traveling salesman problem. While the solution to a seven-node instance is trivial, this paper is the first known instance of the successful use of DNA to compute an algorithm. DNA computing has been shown to have potential as a means to solve several other large-scale combinatorial search problems.
For his contribution to the invention of the
RSA cryptosystem, Adleman was a recipient along with Ron Rivest and Adi Shamir of the 2002 ACM Turing Award, often called the Nobel Prize of Computer Science.
Fred Cohen, in his 1984 paper,
Experiments with Computer Viruses has credited Adleman with coining the term " virus".
On an unusual note, Adleman was the mathematical consultant on the movie
directed by Larry Lasker. Sneakers
See also: List of famous programmers, Important publications in cryptography
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