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Q&A: Securing the Risk

Peter Neumann of SRI International

Credit: SRI International Computer Science Laboratory

Described in ISCA's Information Security magazine as a "designated holist," Peter G. Neumann has devoted most of his decades-long career to the big-picture view of computer systems, security, and risk avoidance. After earning his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1961, Neumann went to work at Bell Laboratories, where he was part of the pioneering group that developed the Multics operating system. Ten years later, he moved to SRI International, where he now, at the age of 81, continues to break new ground with clean-slate architecture research funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He also still moderates the ACM Forum on Risks to the Public in the Use of Computers and Related Systems, adding commentary and insight to a seemingly endless stream of tales about human and machine-driven error.

You studied applied math at Harvard. What drew you to computer science? Your website mentions a summer job with the Naval Ordnance Lab using an IBM Card-Programmed Calculator; were you interested in computers before that job, or did the position spark your interest?


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