Quora question: Cryptography: Why does Blackerry Ltd (formerly R.I.M) hold most of the patents related to Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC)?

RIM purchased Certicom which was the company built purposely on a few ECC implementation patents by a few University of Waterloo professors. Not only owning the patents by these people at Waterloo, Certicom also stole every single idea by anyone who gave a seminar Waterloo as a graduate student, postdoc or just a visitor, and patented it under Certicom’s name!!! [This is really true and I know at least one specific instance of it]


you are so rich, how come you are not smart!? :)

Paul Krugman has argued that the rich embrace Republican economic policies both because they want more money and they’re more inclined to buy into theories that justify their wealth. In a May interview with Reuters, Krugman said that rich people “want the world to praise them for their wealth, so they want economic theories that praise rich people as the salvation of the rest of us.”

I agree with Krugman. I lived in Turkey and continue to spend part of my time there, and know a lot of rich people, some of whom are my relatives. Almost without exception, every single one of them is practically begging for praise and recognition. Guess what: They are not getting it from me! In fact, whenever I catch an occasion, I tell them about Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his uncanny question “you are so rich, how come you are not smart!?” 🙂

Bright versus Gifted ..

A Bright Child knows the answers, is interested, attentive, has good ideas, works hard, answers the questions, performs in the top group, listens with ease, needs 6-8 repetitions for mastery, understands ideas, enjoys peers, grasps the meaning, completes assignments, is receptive, copies accurately, enjoys school, absorbs information, is a ‘technician’ of sorts, is a good memorizer, enjoys straight forward and sequential presentations, is alert and is pleased with his/her own learning.

A Gifted Child asks the questions, is highly curious, is mentally and physically involved, has wild and silly ideas, plays around yet tests well, discusses in detail and elaborates, is beyond the group, shows strong feelings and opinions, already knows, 1-2 repetitions for mastery, constructs abstractions, prefers adults, draws inferences, initiates projects, is intense, creates a new design, enjoys learning, manipulates information, inventor, good guesser, thrives on complexity, is keenly observant, and is highly critical.


Richard Russell reports ..

Many years ago, when I was still living in NYC, I had a subscriber, a Swiss man named Jay Pfister. Jay owned a chemical company. During the early 1930s Jay sold his company to American Cyanamid. That sale made Jay quite wealthy, and he had a home in NYC and one in La Jolla. It was Jay who first told me about La Jolla. Jay suggested that I leave Manhattan and enjoy “a better life” in La Jolla. I thought a lot about Jay’s advice. In 1961 I followed his advice, and it proved to be one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.

One day I met Jay at the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street. We were sipping coffee, when Jay said, “I want to tell you an interesting story. My apartment overlooks the Hudson River. Last Sunday I was looking out over the Hudson, and I saw two large boats heading towards each other. They continued to close in on each other, and I said to myself, ‘This is ridiculous’. The captains must be drunk. If they continue on this path, they’re surely going to crash.”

I looked wide-eyed and asked Jay, “So what happened?”

Answered Jay, “The ‘impossible’ happened. The two boats continued toward each other, and they crashed.”

Erdős Dictionary …


Paul Erdős (26 March 1913 – 20 September 1996) was a Hungarian mathematician. Erdős published more papers than any other mathematician in history, working with hundreds of collaborators. He worked on problems in combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, classical analysis, approximation theory, set theory, and probability theory. He is also known for his “legendarily eccentric” personality.

He had his own idiosyncratic vocabulary: he spoke of “The Book”, an imaginary book in which God had written down the best and most elegant proofs for mathematical theorems. Lecturing in 1985 he said, “You don’t have to believe in God, but you should believe in The Book.” He himself doubted the existence of God, whom he called the “Supreme Fascist” (SF). He accused the SF of hiding his socks and Hungarian passports, and of keeping the most elegant mathematical proofs to himself. When he saw a particularly beautiful mathematical proof he would exclaim, “This one’s from The Book!”. This later inspired a book entitled Proofs from THE BOOK.

Other idiosyncratic elements of Erdős’ vocabulary include:

  • Children were referred to as “epsilons” (because in mathematics, particularly calculus, an arbitrarily small positive quantity is commonly denoted by that Greek letter ε
  • Women were “bosses”;
  • Men were “slaves”;
  • People who stopped doing math had “died”;
  • People who physically died had “left”;
  • Alcoholic drinks were “poison”;
  • Music was “noise”;
  • People who had married were “captured”;
  • People who had divorced were “liberated”;
  • To give a mathematical lecture was “to preach” and
  • To give an oral exam to a student was “to torture” him/her.

A personal story about July 20, 1969 …


July 20 is a summer day. While my hometown Ağrı, a northeastern remote town of Turkey, is not one of the warmest places on earth, it is still a relatively warm but also quite dusty place in July. I was only 12 then, just finished elementary school, heading to the Jr. High, or as they say in Turkey, the Middle School. There was no TV in Ağrı at that time; it was an invention that had yet not arrived my home. The newspapers came daily, but usually a day late due to the time it takes to bring them from Istanbul by bus. Everyday, I visited my father’s hardware store and some other places, reading yesterday’s papers and following one of the greatest stories: The landing of man on the moon. Quickly, it became my job to inform my relatives about this story. I was the only person in town who knew what was going on. I knew the names of everyone involved in the story, from the President JFK, members of his cabinet, the director of NASA, top scientists, engineers, to the astronauts who were locked in that uncomfortably small capsule and was sent off of the earth. As much as a 12-year can claim authority on the subject, I became the source of information for my family, my relatives, our neighbors and anyone else who wanted to know. For many, this was an event to which they paid intermittent attention, and quickly forgot afterward. For me, however, it was an event that shaped the rest of my life. I decided that I wanted to become a scientist or engineer who can be involved in projects like this; the moon may have been captured, but many celestial objects are yet to be reached: Mars, Venus, maybe even Pluto. After 40 years, humanity still did not figure out an efficient way to send manned spaceships beyond the moon, but the dream remains and our robot machines are already digging the surface of the Mars or heading beyond the solar system. As for me, due to what was available or feasible, I studied first electrical engineering and then computer science, but I am still a constant admirer and avid reader of space exploration.

I am grateful to those who dreamed of and finally made the landing on the moon possible; without their implicit encouragement, an unpretentious boy from a remote northeastern town of Turkey would have never received a doctorate in computer science from the University of California.

Q & A …

– Do you believe in God?
– If you ask me if there is a God, perhaps I can answer that.
– Is there a God?
– If there is, he erased all possible traces, making it impossible to construct a proof. I don’t know why he did that. He must know better.

On 22 March 1954 Einstein received a letter from J. Dispentiere, an Italian immigrant who had worked as an experimental machinist in New Jersey. Dispentiere had declared himself an atheist and was disappointed by a news report which had cast Einstein as conventionally religious. Einstein replied on 24 March 1954:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Einstein generally spoke and wrote in German, definitely in his earlier years but even after he moved to the US and worked at IAS in Princeton. However, this comment was indeed in English. Page 43 in Albert Einstein, The Human Side: New Glimpses From His Archives, Edited by Banesh Hoffman and Helen Dukas, ISBN: 9780691023687.


what happens if …

Brezhnev is showing his humble mother around his historic office, his magnificent collection of foreign luxury cars and his palatial dacha with its superb meals, and asking for her impressions — to which she replies: “It’s wonderful, Leonid, but what happens if the Bolsheviks come back?”


Man is fallible and full of fear.
No exceptions.

it is about everything …

“What is this movie, Prometheus, about?”, was asked Scott Ridley; he answers: it is about everything. It seems to me, now, we are all interested everything. Physicists want TOE, Theory of Everything; global economy claims and wants to own just about everything; from Patagonia to Siberia, people read, analyze, desire just about the same things, i.e., everything. Global warming is about everything we have. We live in the age of “everything” .. we can no longer be satisfied with just a thing, or anything small or local. We want to understand, see, touch, and taste everything.

Computer Science, Cryptography & Randomness