19273Cryptographer and computer scientist Robert Morris dies at 78
- Jul 13, 2011*One of the men instrumental in early work on Unix, and the retired chief
*of the NSA’s National Computer Security Center, passed away this summer.*
Robert Morris was born on 25 July 1932, the son of a salesman. After a
earning a Master’s degree in mathematics, he worked at Bell Labs, where he
wrote some of the basic software for the system. Among his contributions
were its math library, the crypt utility, and its password encryption
After leaving Bell Labs in 1986, he worked at the NSA as the chief scientist
of the National Computer Security Center, and ultimately retired in 1994.
He was an innovator, one of the world’s most well-respected computer
scientists, and played a key role in US digital assaults on Saddam Hussein’s
government in preparation for the Persian Gulf war of the early 1990s.
Unfortunately for the curious among us, the specifics of his involvement in
that early “cyberwar” operation are still classified.
He is commemorated in part by Clifford Stoll’s book, *The Cuckoo’s Egg*,
which describes Morris and his posing of a tricky mathematical problem known
as the look-and-say sequence:
What is the next number in the sequence 1 11 21 1211 111221?
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