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.

Elizabeth Stage
As Doug’s neighbor, I echo others’ comments about Doug’s wit and wisdom, also his kindness and encouragement. When I was an administrator at Cal, his sense of humor helped me to weather the storms in California Hall and, when I retired, he kept me in touch with campus happenings so I’d feel that I was still part of the Bear family that he loved. As I science educator, I marveled at his broad and deep knowledge of the flora and fauna of Claremont Canyon, where his home was next to mine, and was amazed at his ability to communicate complex phenomena simply and elegantly. Our shared interests included wine (after achieving sommelier certification, he then achieved the equivalent for saki) and cooking. I reciprocated his gifts of wine with pies, cookies, and ice cream recipes I was working on; he cheerfully critiqued with specific recommendations for improvement and heralded my progress. He was a great teacher and neighbor.

I’ve sent a link to this page to Doug’s family and would be happy to forward any private messages,
January 18, 2020
Raymond Yee
I was shocked to learn that Professor Doug Tygar died a couple of days ago. Even though we were acquaintances who interacted mostly online, I have only fond memories of how enthusiastically kind and friendly he was to me. I dug through my email archive to find Facebook messages from 2009-2011 that we exchanged on sundry topics: Yasujirō Ozu, eczema, J. S. Bach, Amazon AWS, and the TV show Fringe. Thank you, Doug, for your cheerful words from years ago that continue to gladden my heart.
January 18, 2020
Abhijeet Dinkar Patkar
We all heard the terrible news on the Slack channel. I am very sad to see the loss of a brilliant mind. Professor Doug was a special man; my memories of him are from the past quarter's crypto class. Loved his humor, references to Shakespeare, cartoons, and the ability to explain a tough topic in a simple, understandable fashion. Like all of the other classmates of mine, I am in shock with the nature of his loss. I want to add my deepest condolences and sadness on this tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you, his family, and friends.
January 18, 2020
William H. Hsu
I just learned of Doug's passing. I never got to meet him, but we exchanged e-mail once in 1993 when I was applying to grad school, about an independent study project I had done on computer virus detection. At that time he was at CMU and I was surprised that a professor there would take the time to reply to an unknown undergrad about a summer project, much less put in a good word for him on applications. That really made an impression on me and it's one of the reasons I remained interested in cybersecurity even as I went into AI and machine learning research.

I'm sorry now that I never had the chance to see him in person to thank him for his kindness. Rest in peace to Doug, and condolences to all who knew and loved him.
January 18, 2020
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
I took a few classes from him in graduate school. One was a Networking class where he explained group key distribution in cable set-top boxes and it really opened my mind about cryptographic assurance.

One day, he went to clean the whiteboards. (He always needed very clean whiteboards and would clean them before each class if they weren't up to snuff.) While he was talking and cleaning he suddenly screamed and his Knagol driver's cap fell off.

What had happened is that he had the whiteboard cleaning solution spray nozzle pointed in the exact opposite direction for some reason. And the spray was perfectly bisected by his finger and two streams of whiteboard cleaning solution went directly into his eyes! We hurried to help him wash his eyes and class was cancelled.

Why does this stick out? It was a time when I was really questioning my decision to get a PhD. Everyone that seemed to do good work made few mistakes, let alone the pretty massive mistakes that I'm prone to. Doug humanized the academy for me, without reducing standards for good work.
January 18, 2020
Elaine Shi
Doug was my academic grandfather. Although I did not have a chance to work with him, he had been supportive of my research career and gave me encouragement in times that I most needed it. He was a lot of fun to interact with. Doug will be dearly missed.
January 17, 2020
Shankar Sastry
We have lost a real original in Doug. Of course his work in security was amazing and insightful. His work on privacy and usability were ahead of their times! Most of all I will miss him for his wry humor and his novel take on most things around him. He helped found and run our NSF cybersecurity STC for 10+ years and enhanced it through his substantive partnership with a consortium of Taiwanese universities and companies. Traipsing around Taipei with him was really an experience. I will miss him very much.
January 17, 2020
Jeff MacKie-Mason
I've not known Doug as well as many here you, but I've known him for 20 years. Doug and I co-chaired the second-ever ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce in 2000 (EC-2000; still running today, renamed as Economics and Computation). It was a delight getting to know Doug and learning from him much about the culture of computer science research conferences, in which I had only recently started participating. I greatly appreciated Doug's insistence on rigor and excellence, that was combined with his special sense of humor and pragmatism. Over the years before I came to Berkeley we kept engaging through this venue, as we both continued active on the SIG advisory board. Since arriving here, and trying to figure out the very idiosyncratic academic culture at Berkeley, I've greatly valued Doug's patient mentoring.

I will miss him.
January 17, 2020
Nick Merrill
Doug taught me cryptography in the first year of my PhD, setting me on the track I'm now on. I always saw him walk by the cafe I frequent, and I'd always point him out to other regulars. I will miss Doug dearly.
January 17, 2020
Angie Abbatecola
I am so sad. I shared office space and informally supported Doug administratively the past few years and I always enjoyed our conversations. He celebrated the silliness and irony of the way things work. He was a fierce supporter of students and staff alike. I will miss his laugh, his stories and his presence.
January 17, 2020


Last updated:

February 19, 2020