John Nash letter to the NSA


John Nash died tragically yesterday, 23rd May in a taxi crash in New Jersey. Nash struggled with schizophrenia that he also passed on to his son. His recovery became the basis for Sylvia Nasar’s biography A Beautiful Mind as well as a feature film starring Russell Crowe.

Far ahead of his time, in 1955, one year before the famous Gödel’s letter to von Neumann, John Nash sent a few letters to the NSA. Nash and Gödel both thought along similar lines. But while Gödel’s perspective was that of a logician, Nash was interested in cryptography, and wrote about the security of cryptographic keys.

Nash was either misunderstood by the NSA or not taken serious. His work and proposal in this letter remains monumental, making the transition to modern cryptography before anyone else by proposing that it’s security is relational to the computational complexity (of its keys).

Nash tried to interest the NSA in an en/decryption machine, but they did not seem to be interested or take him serious.

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Joachim Bauernberger
Passionate about Open Source, GNU/Linux and Security since 1996. I write about future technology and how to make R&D faster. Expatriate, Entrepreneur, Adventurer and Foodie, currently living near Nice, France.

Valbonne Consulting provides Research & Consulting for emerging technologies in Internet/Web of Things (WoT/IoT/M2M) and Emerging-Tech. We specialise in decentralisation, security and privacy. We work across a variety of traditional industry verticals (Telecommunications, Automotive, Energy, ...). We support Open Source and technologies built on open standards.

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