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[Computational Complexity] The Koblitz Controversy: A reaction

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  • GASARCH
    (Guest Blog by Jonathan Katz on the Koblitz Controversy) Like many others, I was very upset by a recent article by Neal Koblitz that appears in the Notices of
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2007
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      (Guest Blog by Jonathan Katz on the Koblitz Controversy)

      Like many others, I was very upset by a recent article by Neal Koblitz that appears in the Notices of the AMS. I'll say at the outset that I actually think the earlier papers by Koblitz (and Menezes) contained some valid points --- I don't agree with their conclusions, and I find their tone objectionable, but I still think they raise some issues worthy of further thought.

      What really bugs me, however, is how much publicity Koblitz has managed to get out of this. I see him invited to give talks at many venues, but never see anyone invited to present a counter-argument. (For that matter, I don't see invited speakers at cryptography conferences poking fun at the cryptographic work that mathematicians do.) This does not matter so much when Koblitz speaks at a TCS-venue (any intelligent cryptographer knows that his arguments are overblown), but I think it matters greatly when he speaks in front of an "outside" audience.

      For this reason, I thought publication of his article in the Notices of the AMS was inexcusable. Even worse, this latest incarnation of his essay goes beyond being a mere "academic" argument and degenerates to name-calling and belittlement of an entire field and all the people who work in it. (And it seems pretty clear that his feelings extend beyond crypto to CS at large.)

      As promised, I have written a letter of complaint to the editors of the Notices. I don't know if it will get published (it is also a bit long), but it is available here (pdf) or here (ps)

      P.S. After sending this post to Bill I noticed that Oded also wrote a letter to the Notices of the AMS.

      --
      Posted By GASARCH to Computational Complexity at 8/31/2007 01:59:00 PM
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