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Cryptologic Hall of Honor

The Cryptologic Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to pay special tribute to the pioneers and heroes who rendered distinguished service to American cryptology.

The standards are high for induction into this great hall. The individuals honored were innovators over their entire careers or made major contributions to the structure and processes of American cryptology. The men and women who have been inducted to the Cryptologic Hall of Honor are all greats in the once silent world of cryptology.

In the early days of America's cryptologic effort, many of the "giants" did both Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance. They made important contributions to both offensive and defensive cryptology. As such, they were among the first inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor.

Dr. William Blankinship

2005 Hall of Honor Inductee

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Dr. William A. Blankinship performed pioneering research in mathematical applications to cryptography and was a pioneer in computer programming. Most notably, he formulated a broad cryptanalytic theory that provided the foundations for an entire branch of cryptanalysis. He was also an exemplary teacher and mentor who inspired a generation of cryptomathematicians.

Dr. Blankinship earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia in 1941, and a doctorate in the same subject from Princeton in 1949. From 1943-44, he was an instructor at the University of Illinois. A Navy officer in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Dr. Blankinship distinguished himself in mathematical research and was chief of cryptanalysis at a Navy field station.

After joining NSA as a civilian in 1954, he served in a variety of positions related to cryptanalytic research, software, and information processing. He developed and taught the first version of a class that remains a core course in the cryptanalysis curriculum. An early champion of special-purpose computing devices, by the 1970s he was the Chief Scientist for the Office of Research. Dr. Blankinship was also a frequent contributor to NSA's "Technical Journal," a now defunct professional journal. His programs and projects played a central role in shaping the design of modern U.S. cryptography.

Dr. Blankinship retired from NSA in 1979 and passed away in June 1998.