Manuel Blum

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Manuel Blum
Manuel Blum (left) with his wife Lenore Blum and their son Avrim Blum, 1973
Born (1938-04-26) 26 April 1938 (age 85)
Caracas, Venezuela
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology (BA, MA, PhD)
Known forBlum complexity axioms
Blum integer
Blum's speedup theorem
Blum Blum Shub
Blum–Goldwasser cryptosystem
Blum–Micali algorithm
Commitment scheme
SpouseLenore Blum
AwardsACM's A.M. Turing Award, 1995
Distinguished Teaching Award, UC Berkeley, 1977
Sigma Xi's Monie A. Ferst Award, 1991
Herbert A.Simon Teaching award, 2007
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Science
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Carnegie Mellon University
ThesisA Machine-Independent Theory of the Complexity of Recursive Functions (1964)
Doctoral advisorMarvin Minsky[1]
Doctoral studentsLeonard Adleman
Dana Angluin
C. Eric Bach
Shafi Goldwasser
Mor Harchol-Balter
Russell Impagliazzo
Silvio Micali
Gary Miller
Moni Naor
Ronitt Rubinfeld
Steven Rudich
Jeffrey Shallit
Michael Sipser
Umesh Vazirani
Vijay Vazirani
Luis von Ahn
Ryan Williams[1]

Manuel Blum (born 26 April 1938) is a Venezuelan born American computer scientist who received the Turing Award in 1995 "In recognition of his contributions to the foundations of computational complexity theory and its application to cryptography and program checking".[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]


Blum was born to a Jewish family in Venezuela.[9] Blum was educated at MIT, where he received his bachelor's degree and his master's degree in electrical engineering in 1959 and 1961 respectively, and his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1964 supervised by Marvin Minsky.[1][7]


Blum worked as a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley until 2001. From 2001 to 2018, he was the Bruce Nelson Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where his wife, Lenore Blum,[10] was also a professor of Computer Science.

In 2002, he was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences. In 2006, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to abstract complexity theory, inductive inference, cryptographic protocols, and the theory and applications of program checkers.

In 2018 he and his wife Lenore resigned from Carnegie Mellon University to protest against sexism after a change in management structure of Project Olympus led to sexist treatment of her as director and the exclusion of other women from project activities.[11]


In the 60s he developed an axiomatic complexity theory which was independent of concrete machine models. The theory is based on Gödel numberings and the Blum axioms. Even though the theory is not based on any machine model it yields concrete results like the compression theorem, the gap theorem, the honesty theorem and the Blum speedup theorem.

Some of his other work includes a protocol for flipping a coin over a telephone, median of medians (a linear time selection algorithm), the Blum Blum Shub pseudorandom number generator, the Blum–Goldwasser cryptosystem, and more recently CAPTCHAs.[12]

Blum is also known as the advisor of many prominent researchers. Among his Ph.D. students are Leonard Adleman, Dana Angluin, Shafi Goldwasser, Mor Harchol-Balter, Russell Impagliazzo, Silvio Micali, Gary Miller, Moni Naor, Steven Rudich, Michael Sipser, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Umesh Vazirani, Vijay Vazirani, Luis von Ahn, and Ryan Williams.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Manuel Blum at the Mathematics Genealogy Project.
  2. ^ ACM Turing Award Citation, retrieved 2010-01-24.
  3. ^ Manuel Blum at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ Manuel Blum publications indexed by Microsoft Academic
  5. ^ Blum, Manuel; Micali, Silvio (1984). "How to Generate Cryptographically Strong Sequences of Pseudorandom Bits" (PDF). SIAM Journal on Computing. 13 (4): 850. doi:10.1137/0213053. S2CID 7008910.
  6. ^ Blum, M.; Floyd, R. W.; Pratt, V. R.; Rivest, R. L.; Tarjan, R. E. (August 1973). "Time bounds for selection" (PDF). Journal of Computer and System Sciences. 7 (4): 448–461. doi:10.1016/S0022-0000(73)80033-9.
  7. ^ a b Blum, Manuel (1967). "A Machine-Independent Theory of the Complexity of Recursive Functions" (PDF). Journal of the ACM. 14 (2): 322–336. doi:10.1145/321386.321395. S2CID 15710280.
  8. ^ Blum, L.; Blum, M.; Shub, M. (1986). "A Simple Unpredictable Pseudo-Random Number Generator". SIAM Journal on Computing. 15 (2): 364. doi:10.1137/0215025.
  9. ^ "Lenore Blum biography". Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  10. ^ Blum, L.; Blum, M. (1975). "Toward a mathematical theory of inductive inference". Information and Control. 28 (2): 125. doi:10.1016/S0019-9958(75)90261-2.
  11. ^ "Lenore Blum shocked the community with her sudden resignation from CMU. Here she tells us why". 6 September 2018.
  12. ^ Von Ahn, Luis; Blum, Manuel; Hopper, Nicholas J.; Langford, John (May 2003). "CAPTCHA: Using Hard AI Problems for Security". Proceedings of the International Conference on the Theory and Applications of Cryptographic Techniques (EUROCRYPT 2003).