In Memory of Doug Tygar

Professor Doug Tygar passed away unexpectedly on January 16, 2020.

Doug was a valued community member, teacher, and researcher. His work made unique and significant contributions to the fields of usable computer security, cryptography, privacy, and digital rights management. As a colleague, his sharp sense of humor, infectious laugh, and encyclopedic knowledge of all things Berkeley are irreplaceable. He will be sorely missed.

We invite you to share your memories of and tributes to Doug Tygar.

Bret Musser
I am saddened to have just learned of Doug’s death. What a loss. There are only a few people in my life who left an impression on me as Doug did. 35 years later, I still think about how he helped give me a chance. Thank you Doug. I can only hope to pass your legacy forward as you did to me.
February 22, 2023
i did not know doug professionally. he was my neighbor around 96-97 in an apartment building in pittsburgh, he must have been at CMU and i was just working.

we were friendly, would say hello, would pick up each other's mail, that kind of thing. he was a bit older than me i think -- i had just graduated college and he was already a professor, i guess -- and one night he invited me out to dinner, i think we went to the chinese place in squirrel hill, and he paid, which i remember because i was mostly broke around that time and it was gentlemanly of him.

and i also remember that he somehow, gently, broached the subject of my chaotic relationship with my then-girlfried, and somehow, gently pointed out that it didn't seem very healthy. i imagine he heard fighting through the walls, or in the stairwell -- somehow he had correctly deduced that we were a messy, messed-up couple.

and while i was too young and dumb to take his advice (or, at the same time, that of my parents and friends), and the relationship eventually ended on its own, i think back to the courage, the generosity, the care and the concern that he would find a way to take me out to dinner and ever so gently try to help me see (even though i couldn't yet) that what i was doing was unhealthy.

what a lovely human being and what a sad loss--my heart goes out to his family, and i hope it brings you a smile to think that back in 1996, your beloved doug was caring enough to take a messy young kid out to dinner and try to offer some life wisdom. i just found this because my son is now a CS major and i remember doug was into cryptography and thought i would see where he was and show my son what an academic career in CS might look like.

thank you, doug, for caring about me when i was young and confused.
December 21, 2022
Joseph Rafail
A great mentor, teacher and friend from our time at Carnegie Mellon. He always made me smile.
April 27, 2022
Lena Connolly - Assistant Professor Zayed University
I only just found out now...Doug generously supported my two trips to UC Berkeley while I was a PhD student (2012, 2014-2015). Since then we occasionally kept in touch. My dream was to invite him to apply for some amazing grant opportunity and conduct some interesting research (I was going to start looking for opportunities in a year or so as I am still not at the point of my career to do so). It is hard to comprehend that this will never happen....that I will never talk to him again

He was a wonderful man, kind and caring. And what a beautiful mind! I loved auditing his courses...he was so clever and sharp! I really admired him. I am so sad I will never see him again.

Good bye my friend! You will be missed
November 28, 2021
Arthur Wohlwill
I knew Doug when I was an undergraduate at Cal. He started there when he was 16 and graduated at 19. I lost track of him after graduation, but stumbled across an article he wrote in Nature. At that time he was at Carnegie Mellon which is just a few blocks from where my brother lives, so when I visited my brother I got to see him and reminisce about the old days. I did find that he had moved to Berkeley and was glad that he got back there. I thought about him recently because I have a friend whose son, like Doug, started taking college classes (where I teach) at a very early age. So I decided to look him up and was saddened to hear the news.
November 2, 2021
Sashank Varma
Oh no! What a loss.

I had Professor Tygar for Fundamental Structures of Computing I at CMU back in Spring 1988, as a freshman. I didn't understand something and went to his office hours. He patiently explained the topic to me. As I was leaving, he asked me to wait and reached into a cardboard box. He pulled out a copy of David Harel's "Algorithmics" book, handed it to me, and said I might enjoy it.

That helped start me down a path to being a computer science professor myself. More importantly, it taught me what encouragement from a professor can mean in the life of a young person. To this day, I routinely reach to my shelf and pull down books to "loan" to undergraduates and graduate students. I get back about 70% back, but that's hardly the point.
September 28, 2021
Dave Detlefs
I hadn't heard of Doug's passing; very sorry.

Doug was a new professor when I was new grad student at CMU. He was very kind to me, teaching me mathy things about, e.g., random number generators I probably wouldn't have otherwise learned, and gently pointing out some obvious flaws in some early versions of some garbage-collection work I was doing. I always thought he was one of the very smartest people I got to work with (at least a little), in a career where I've been very privileged in that way.
July 16, 2021
Edward Penrose
Very sad to hear of the sudden and unexpected passing.

Through a love of literature and film, Doug's amazing collection has been donated to our non profit, Hope Services, by Doug's wife in his memory.

I trust that those who knew Doug and his wife will find no surprise that the donation of incredible books is living on his life on touching the lives of an additional 3500 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout bay area counties that we serve.

His legacy will live through thousands of incredible lives and thank you for your incredible generosity.

The deepest condolences from the whole Hope Services / Green Street Books team.

September 16, 2020
Kurt Riedel
I was Doug's closest friend in college (U.C. Berkeley, of course). He was several years younger than our peer group. He was always brilliant and articulate. He loved discussions on mathematics, philosophy and politics. He stood up for his principles and his friends. He recognized early that mathematics and computer science was a better career than physics and mathematics. He went to Harvard and got his PhD under Rabin. He became an assistant professor at CMU before moving back to UC Berkeley. Doug loved teaching. I think that he could have become a professional speaker or an actor if he wanted. He will be missed.
May 21, 2020
Jon C R Bennett
I still can see him in Wean 7500 doing the "Alice and Bob" lecture, with Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and the part of the Prince of Darkness (the eavesdropper) played by a little rubber ducky.

April 29, 2020


Last updated:

February 19, 2020