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Manuel Blum

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Biography

Manuel Blum is a professor of computer science who has developed the field of computational complexity theory.

Blum earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in electrical engineering in 1959 and 1961 and a doctorate in mathematics from that institution in 1964. He taught at the University of California at Berkeley, where he won the A.M. Turing Award, the highest honor given by the Association for Computing Machinery, in 1995. He moved to Carnegie Mellon University in 2001.

Blum’s research starts from the premise that computers have inherent limitations; their resources are not infinite, but remain bounded. If computational resources are limited, then it is possible to create secure electronic transactions through pseudo-random number generation. For example, working with Yahoo, he developed the Completely Automated Public Turing Test (CAPTCHA) in 2000, which numerous websites use to ensure that users are humans, not robots.

Blum was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.