International Association for Cryptologic Research

Obituary - Donald Watts Davies

Donald Watts Davies, CBE, FRS, computer pioneer, and early IACR member died on May 28 in London at age 75. Donald is remembered by many as an inventor of packet-switched networking. In fact, he was the man who gave the name "packet" to a chunk of data. What fewer now recall is that Donald was a regular author at early IACR conferences. Donald loved to solve puzzles, and he found the then-new DES algorithm a puzzle worthy of his intellect. He had an active and inventive cryptanalytic mind - he disclosed something very close to linear cryptanalysis to me in 1987. That same year Donald was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society; he liked to tell of his pleasure at signing the same register of names as Newton had signed. He served our community as program chair of Eurocrypt '91. His books, "Computer Networks and their Protocols," and, with Wynn Price, "Security for Computer Networks," remain classic references.

Through the 1990s Donald was less active in IACR affairs. However, those who were fortunate to know him will never forget him.

--Tom Berson


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