SOURCE: Computer History Museum

Computer History Museum

March 16, 2011 09:00 ET

The Computer History Museum Announces Its 2011 Fellow Award Honorees

Sun Microsystems Co-Founder and Fathers of Cryptography to Be Inducted Into the Museum's Hall of Fellows

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - March 16, 2011) -  The Computer History Museum (CHM), the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society, today announced its 2011 Fellow Award honorees: Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, and Ralph Merkle, pioneers of cryptography, and Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. The four Fellows will be inducted into the Museum's Hall of Fellows on April 30, 2011 at a formal ceremony where Silicon Valley insiders, technology leaders, and museum supporters will gather to celebrate the accomplishments of the Fellows and their impact on society.

The Fellow Awards bring to life the Computer History Museum's overarching mission to preserve and present the artifacts and stories of the information age. The tradition began with CHM's first Fellow, Grace Murray Hopper, inventor of the compiler, and has grown to a distinguished and select group of 54 members. This award represents the highest achievement in computing, honoring the people who have forever changed the world with their innovations.

"The Fellows program recognizes pioneers of the information age who have significantly contributed to the computing revolution," said John Hollar, CHM's President and CEO. "The Museum's Fellows are a distinguished group of men and women. It is an honor to bring together, at the Fellow Awards, so many of the people who are currently building the future and to celebrate those who contributed so significantly in the past."

About the 2011 Fellows:

  • Whitfield Diffie studied mathematics at MIT and began working for defense contractor MITRE, writing LISP software for the Mathlab symbolic manipulation program and joined Stanford to work on proof of correctness theorems for computer programs. Together, Diffie, Hellman, and Merkle devised the concept of public key cryptography in 1975. Diffie later became manager of Secure Systems Research for Northern Telecom and later joined Sun Microsystems Laboratories as a Distinguished Engineer where he served as Chief Security Officer and Vice President until 2009.
  • Martin Hellman published his work with Diffie in 1976 under the title New Directions in Cryptography, a groundbreaking paper that introduced a radically new method of distributing cryptographic keys, enabling secure communications over an insecure channel without prearrangement of a secret key. Throughout his career, he authored over 70 technical papers, holds eight US patents, a number of foreign patents, and will soon be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • Ralph Merkle discovered a general method of securing electronic communications using a system of cryptographic key exchange now known as "Merkle's Puzzles." He later joined Elxi, a computer startup where he managed its compiler group, and then Xerox PARC and Zyvex where he researched the problem solving possibilities of nanotechnology.
  • Bill Joy worked on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Unix system and co-founded Sun Microsystems, where he was a key designer of Sun's Solaris operating system, SPARC microprocessor architecture, and the Java programming language. He is now a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers within the green-tech investment practice.

For more information on the 2011 Fellow Awards, please visit:

About the Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history, and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs, and moving images. The Museum brings computer history to life through an acclaimed speaker series, dynamic website, onsite tours, and physical and online exhibits. Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing, its new permanent exhibition, and the grand re-opening of the newly designed Computer History Museum opened January 13, 2011. More information about Revolution can be found at and images are available at

Regular museum visitor hours are Wednesday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The museum café will be open daily: Wednesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. General Admission tickets are $15.00; Seniors (65 yrs+), Students with ID (13 yrs+), and Active Military w/ ID are $12.00; Members and Children 12 & under are free.

For more information and updates visit the museum at or call (650) 810-1059. Visit the CHM on Facebook and follow @computerhistory on Twitter

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Amy Jackson
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    (650) 480-4032