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Martin Edward Hellman (born October 2, 1945) is a cryptologist, famous for his invention of public key cryptography in cooperation with Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle.

Martin and Whitfield Diffie's paper New Directions in Cryptography was published in 1976. It introduced a radically new method of distributing cryptographic keys, which went far toward solving one of the fundamental problems of cryptography, key distribution. It has become known as Diffie-Hellman key exchange. The article also seems to have stimulated the almost immediate public development of a new class of encryption algorithms, the asymmetric key algorithms.

Hellman graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. He went on to earn his Bachelor's degree from New York University in 1966, and at Stanford University he earned a Master's degree in 1967 and a Ph.D. in 1969, all in electrical engineering.

From 19681969 he worked at IBM's Watson Research Center where he encountered Horst Feistel. From 19691971 he was an assistant professor at MIT. He joined Stanford in 1971 as a professor, serving until 1996 when he became Professor Emeritus.

Martin and Whitfield Diffie were awarded the Marconi Fellowship and accompanying prize in 2000 for work on public-key cryptography and for helping make cryptography a legitimate area of academic research.

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