Ralph Merkle

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope
Ralph Merkle

Name: Ralph C. Merkle

Born: February 2, 1952

Computer-related contributions

  • One of the inventors of public key cryptography.
  • Inventor of cryptographic hashing.
  • Researcher and speaker on molecular nanotechnology and cryonics.
  • Designed the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers, and the Snefru hash function while at Xerox PARC.

Significant publications

  • Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines (2004).
  • Secrecy, authentication, and public key systems (1982).

Honors and awards

  • National Inventor's Hall of Fame (2011).
  • Computer History Museum Fellow (2011).
  • Awarded the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (2010).
  • IACR fellow for the invention of public key cryptography (2008).
  • IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award (1999).


"Nanotechnology is an idea that most people simply didn't believe."