Benny Chor

I just heard that Benny Chor died this morning. Chor did very important work on computational biology and distributed algorithms, but I (and probably many of my readers) know him primarily for his work on cryptography, for his work on randomness extraction and for introducing the notion of private information retrieval.

I only met him once, at the event for Oded Goldreich’s 60th birthday. On the occasion, he gave a talk on the Chor-Goldreich paper, which introduced the problem of randomness extraction from independent sources, and which introduced min-entropy as the right parameter by which to quantify the randomness content of random sources. He did so using the original slides used for the FOCS 1985 talk.

I took a picture during the talk, which I posted online, and later he sent me an email asking for the original. Sadly, this was the totality of our correspondence. I heard that besides being a brilliant and generous researchers, he was a very playful, likeable and nice person. My thoughts are with his family and his friends.

3 thoughts on “Benny Chor

  1. A sad day for us in Tel Aviv University, and for my wife and I who adore Benny. Benny had a unique personality. He was indeed kind and playful. Working on extractors, I knew Chor. Luckily for me, I had a couple of years to enjoy Benny as well.

  2. This is extremely sad (and surprising to me) news.
    Sharing a bike ride with Benny (and Fabio Cunial) in the outskirts of Dagstuhl is one of the most treasured memories of my PhD.
    My souvenir is one of a researcher which was kind to young researcher, always wanting to learn and lots of fun.

  3. Sad news. I was fortunate enough to overlap with Benny at MIT in the mid 1980’s. My favorite memory is watching Benny and Oded Goldreich engage in intense water gun fights at our “work” space. For them (and the rest of us at that time), there was little distinction between play and work. I’ll miss you Benny.

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