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).
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