It’s not every day that Euclid appears in public with “Alice and Bob,” but in a lecture spanning a few thousand years, Ronald Rivest, a member of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, summons these and other notables in his history of cryptography.
While citing milestones of code-making and breaking, Rivest also brings his audience up to date on the latest systems for securing information and communication networks, which owe much to his own research.
Rivest sees cryptography blossoming into applications for anonymity, password-based keys, and crypto for smart cards. He has been looking into probabilistic micropayment systems, and techniques to enhance the security and transparency of voting. “Maybe large prime numbers have a role to play in our democracy down the road,” he says.
Update (February 2016): Multimedia file removed, as it was using Adobe Flash.