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Horst Feistel
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Horst Feistel

Horst Feistel (30 January 1915(1) - 14 November 1990) was one of the first non-government researchers in modern cryptography. He lends his name to the Feistel network construction — a common method for constructing encryption algorithms — and his work at IBM led to the development of the pioneering Lucifer and Data Encryption Standard (DES) ciphers. He could easily be considered the father of modern block ciphers: he was the first cryptographer to publish designs and theory on the topic.

Table of contents
1 Life and work
2 References
3 External links
4 Notes

Life and work

Feistel was born in Berlin in 1915, and moved to the United States in 1934. During World War II, he was placed under house arrest, but at the end of the war he soon became a US citizen on 31 January 1944. The following day he was granted a security clearance and began work for the US Air Force Cambridge Research Center (AFCRC) on Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) devices until the 1950s. He was subsequently employed at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, then the Mitre Corporation, and finally IBM, where he received an award for his cryptographic work.

Feistel obtained a Bachelor's degree at MIT, and his Master's at Harvard, both in Physics. He married his wife Leona in 1945, with whom he had a daughter.


External links


(1) Both (Diffie and Landau, 1998), and (Levy, 2001) give Feistel's birth year as
1914. The dates included here are based on the genealogical notes.