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Celebration for computer scientist Michael Rabin to mark amazing achievements

Luminaries from academia and industry will help usher in Rabin's 80th birthday at a conference held August 29-30

A conference at SEAS will celebrate computer scientist Michael Rabin's 80th birthday.

On August 29-30, 2011, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) will host a conference in celebration of computer scientist Michael Rabin's 80th birthday.

Speakers will include Yonatan Aumann, Michael Ben-Or, Richard Karp, Dick Lipton, Silvio Micali, Michael Mitzenmacher, David Parkes, Tal Rabin, Ron Rivest, Dana Scott, Madhu Sudan, Salil Vadhan,Moshe Vardi, and Avi Wigderson.

Rabin is one of the most prominent computer scientists of the past 50 years. His contributions have influenced many foundational areas of the field.

Rabin's work (with Dana Scott) on Finite Automata, started the entire research area of automata theory, critical for the specification, design, and verification of computing systems.

One of his most influential and lasting contributions was the use of randomization in computing, which led to the construction of practical algorithms to solve problems that are otherwise unsolvable or intractable. One such algorithm, the Miller-Rabin primality testing, and others developed in its wake, were the basis of the successful implementation of public-key cryptography.

More recently, Rabin has continued to work on ways to improve privacy and create unbreakable ways to encrypt data. He introduced the notion of absolute security, based on a continuous stream of random bits that is to be beamed down from a satellite. Using his scheme, messages will be undecipherable even in the far future.

In recognition of his achievements Rabin has received the most prestigious honors in computer science, including the ACM Turing Award (considered by many to be the equivalent to a Nobel Prize in this area), and was elected to the world's most important academies.

The Rabin celebration event is open to the public, but registration is required by August 25th.

If you have any questions, please contact Carol Harlow (, or one of the organizers (Michael Mitzenmacher, Salil Vadhan, Leslie Valiant).

For more information, see the conference website.

Topics: Computer Science

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