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Roger Needham

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Roger Needham
Roger Needham in 1999
Born(1935-02-09)9 February 1935
Sheffield, England, UK
Died1 March 2003(2003-03-01) (aged 68)
EducationDoncaster Grammar School for Boys
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA, PhD)
Known forNeedham–Schroeder protocol
BAN logic
Tiny Encryption Algorithm
(m. 1958)
AwardsFaraday Medal (1998)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
ThesisThe application of digital computers to problems of classification and grouping (1962)
Doctoral advisorDavid Wheeler[1]
Doctoral students

Roger Michael Needham CBE FRS FREng (9 February 1935 – 1 March 2003)[3] was a British computer scientist.[4][5][6]

Early life and education


Needham was born in Birmingham, England, the only child of Phyllis Mary, née Baker (c.1904–1976) and Leonard William Needham (c.1905–1973), a university chemistry lecturer.[7] He attended Doncaster Grammar School for Boys in Doncaster (then in the West Riding) going on to St John's College, Cambridge in 1953, and graduating with a BA in 1956 in mathematics and philosophy.[7] His PhD thesis was on applications of digital computers to the automatic classification and retrieval of documents. He worked on a variety of key computing projects in security, operating systems, computer architecture (capability systems) and local area networks.[1][8]

Career and research


Among Needham's theoretical contributions is the development of the Burrows-Abadi-Needham logic for authentication, generally known as the BAN logic. His Needham–Schroeder (co-invented with Michael Schroeder) security protocol forms the basis of the Kerberos authentication and key exchange system. He also co-designed the TEA and XTEA encryption algorithms. He pioneered the technique of protecting passwords using a one-way hash function.[9][10]

In 1962, he joined the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory, then called the Mathematical Laboratory, serving as the Head of the Laboratory from 1980 until 1995. He was made a professor in 1981 and remained with the laboratory until his retirement in 1998. Between 1996 and 1998, Needham served as the pro-vice chancellor at the University of Cambridge.[11] In 1997, he set up Microsoft's UK-based Research Laboratory. He was a founding Fellow of University College, Cambridge, which became Wolfson College.

Needham was a longtime and respected member of the International Association for Cryptologic Research, the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Security and Privacy, and the University Grants Committee. He was made a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1994.[12]

Awards and honours


Needham was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1985 and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 1993. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his contributions to computing in 2001. Needham held honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Twente, Loughborough University,[13] and the University of Kent.

Named in Needham's honour


Needham has several awards named after him in his honour. The British Computer Society established an annual Roger Needham Award in 2004.[14]

The European Conference on Computer Systems (EuroSys)[15] established the annual Roger Needham PhD Award.[16] It awards €2,000 to a PhD student from a European university whose thesis is regarded to be an exceptional, innovative contribution to knowledge in the computer systems area. Past winners have been:

Personal life


Needham married fellow computer scientist Karen Spärck Jones in 1958. He died of cancer in March 2003 at his home in Willingham, Cambridgeshire.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e Roger Needham at the Mathematics Genealogy Project Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Anderson, Ross John (2014). Robust Computer Security. cam.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 556718921. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.338198. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  3. ^ Hoare, T.; Wilkes, M. V. (2004). "Roger Michael Needham CBE FREng. 9 February 1935 – 1 March 2003: Elected F.R.S. 1985". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 50: 183–199. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2004.0014. S2CID 58340004.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Roger Needham". The Register. 2003. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  5. ^ Lohr, Steve (2003). "Roger Needham, Computer Security Expert, Dies at 68". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 November 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  6. ^ Roger Needham at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  7. ^ a b Herbert, Andrew James, "Needham, Roger Michael (1935–2003)" Archived 27 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, March 2009; online edition, January 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2018 (subscription required)
  8. ^ Needham, Roger Michael (1962). The application of digital computers to problems of classification and grouping. cam.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 78234905. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  9. ^ Wilkes, M. V. Time-Sharing Computer Systems. American Elsevier, New York, (1968).
  10. ^ Schofield, Jack (10 March 2003). "Roger Needham: He set up Microsoft's first overseas research body". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Roger Needham, 68; Microsoft Researcher and Security Expert". Los Angeles Times. 8 March 2003.
  12. ^ "ACM Fellow Roger Needham Dies at 62". Pressroom. ACM. 7 March 2003. Archived from the original on 19 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  13. ^ Speech presenting Needham with an honorary degree Archived 7 March 2003 at the Wayback Machine, Loughborough University, 13 July 2001
  14. ^ Roger Needham Lecture Archived 5 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine at the British Computer Society website
  15. ^ "European Chapter of ACM SIGOPS". eurosys.org. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  16. ^ "phd-award – European Chapter of ACM SIGOPS". eurosys.org. Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  17. ^ Andriesse, Dennis. Analyzing and Securing Binaries Through Static Disassembly (PDF) (PhD). Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Safe and automatic live update – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam". Dare.ubvu.vu.nl. 10 April 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  19. ^ Technische Universität Dresden – Qucosa. "Qucosa – Technische Universität Dresden: Software Transactional Memory Building Blocks" (in German). Nbn-resolving.de. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  20. ^ "Using information flow tracking to protect legacy binaries – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam". Dare.ubvu.vu.nl. 30 May 2012. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  21. ^ Murray, Derek Gordon (2012). A distributed execution engine supporting data-dependent control flow (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.610417.
  22. ^ Herder, Jorrit (2011). Building a Dependable Operating System: Fault Tolerance in MINIX 3 (PhD thesis). Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. hdl:1871/16055. OCLC 664802571.
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ Jacob Gorm Hansen (7 April 2009) [29 June 2007]. "Virtual machine mobility with self-migration" (PDF) (PhD). University of Copenhagen. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  25. ^ "Svensk forskning för hållbar tillväxt| RISE" (PDF) (in Swedish). Sics.se. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  26. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "master.dvi" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  28. ^ Peterson, Kim (6 March 2003). "Microsoft's Needham dies from cancer". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2012.