Professor Rivest is the Viterbi Professor of Computer Science in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), a member of the lab's Theory of Computation Group and is a leader of its Cryptography and Information Security Group. He is also a founder of RSA Data Security. (RSA was bought by Security Dynamics; the combined company has been renamed to RSA Security.)
Professor Rivest has research interests in cryptography, computer and network security, voting systems, and algorithms.
Professor Rivest is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the International Association for Cryptographic Research, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also on the EPIC Advisory Board.
Together with Adi Shamir and Len Adleman, he has been awarded the 2000 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award and the Secure Computing Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also received, together with Shamir and Adleman, the 2002 ACM Turing Award.
Professor Rivest has received an honorary degree (the "laurea honoris causa") from the University of Rome. He is a Fellow of the World Technology Network and a Finalist for the 2002 World Technology Award for Communications Technology. In 2005, he received the MITX Lifetime Achievement Award.
Professor Rivest is an inventor of the RSA public-key cryptosystem. He has extensive experience in cryptographic design and cryptanalysis, and has published numerous papers in these areas. He has served as a Director of the International Association for Cryptologic Research, the organizing body for the Eurocrypt and Crypto conferences, and as a Director of the Financial Cryptography Association.
He received a B.A. in Mathematics from Yale University in 1969, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1974.
He has also worked extensively in the areas of computer algorithms, machine learning, and VLSI design.