In this interview, computer security pioneer Peter G. Neumann relates his education at Harvard University (A.B. in Math, S.M. and Ph.D. in Applied Math), including an influential (to his perspective and career) two-hour long meeting/discussion as an undergraduate with Albert Einstein (discussing “complexity” and other topics). The vast majority of the interview addresses the many facets of his highly influential career in computer security research. With regard to the latter, this includes discussion of his work at Bell Labs and extensive involvement with MULTICS security, and his subsequent four-decade (and continuing) career as a research scientist at SRI International. He tells of his work and leadership with the Provably Secure Operating System (PSOS), research and writing on risks (including moderating the ACM Risks Forum), insider misuse and intrusion-detection systems (IDES, NIDES, EMERALD), and his current work on two DARPA-funded projects that builds on key lessons of the past to design and develop secure/trustworthy computer systems. He also relates the computer security research infrastructure and how it evolved, as well as comments on a number of other topics such as the major computer security conferences and the range of perspectives of researchers in the computer security research community.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under
Grant No. 1116862, “Building an Infrastructure for Computer Security History.”