Michael Luby

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Michael George Luby is a mathematician and computer scientist, VP Technology at Qualcomm and former co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Digital Fountain. In coding theory he is known for leading the invention of the Tornado codes and the LT codes. In cryptography he is known for his contributions showing that any one-way function can be used as the basis for private cryptography, and for his analysis, in collaboration with Charles Rackoff, of the Feistel cipher construction. His distributed algorithm to find a maximal independent set in a computer network has also been very influential. He has also contributed to average-case complexity.[1]

Luby received his B.Sc. in mathematics from MIT in 1975. In 1983 he was awarded a Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley.[2] In 1996-1997, while at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), he led the team that invented Tornado codes. These were the first LDPC codes based on an irregular degree design that has proved crucial to all later good LDPC code designs, which provably achieve channel capacity for the erasure channel, and which have linear time encoding and decoding algorithms. In 1998 Luby left ICSI to found the Digital Fountain company, and shortly thereafter in 1998 he invented the LT codes, the first practical fountain codes. Qualcomm acquired Digital Fountain in 2009.[3]

Awards received[edit]

  • 2002 IEEE Information Theory Society Information Theory Paper Award for leading the design and analysis of the first irregular LDPC error-correcting codes[4]
  • 2003 SIAM Outstanding Paper Prize for the seminal paper showing how to construct a cryptographically unbreakable pseudo-random generator from any one-way function
  • 2007 IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award together with Amin Shokrollahi "for bridging mathematics, Internet design and mobile broadcasting as well as successful standardization"[5]
  • 2009 ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award [6]
  • 2012 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal together with Amin Shokrollahi "for the conception, development, and analysis of practical rateless codes"[7]
  • 2014 National Academy of Engineering "For contributions to coding theory including the inception of rateless codes"
  • 2015 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.[8]
  • 2015 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award [9] "For groundbreaking contributions to erasure correcting codes, which are essential for improving the quality of video transmission over a variety of networks."
  • 2016 ACM Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing "The Prize is awarded for outstanding papers on the principles of distributed computing, whose significance and impact on the theory and/or practice of distributed computing have been evident for at least a decade."

Selected publications[edit]

  • Luby, Michael (1986). "A Simple Parallel Algorithm for the Maximal Independent Set Problem". SIAM Journal on Computing. 15 (4): 1036–1053. doi:10.1137/0215074. 
  • Shai Ben-David, Benny Chor, Oded Goldreich, and Michael Luby (1989). "On the theory of average-case complexity". Proceedings of the Twenty First Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC): 204–216.