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.

John Chuang
I first met Doug 24 years ago, when he was a young tenured Professor at CMU and I just started as a PhD student there. Doug was my first teacher for security and cryptography, through a specially arranged crash course for the members of the NetBill micropayment project that he co-led with Marvin Sirbu. It was from him that I learned about cryptographic protocols, symmetric and asymmetric key encryption algorithms, authentication schemes, and so on.

When I first arrived at South Hall as an assistant professor in 1999, Doug generously offered to co-teach INFO 206 with me for the first two years. From him I learned many invaluable lessons on teaching, grading, advising, and I got to witness his famous lectures with the Alice and Bob puppet shows and his dramatic ripping up of $20 bills to drive home the importance of the ACID properties in distributed transactions.

Over the years, I have learned so much more from Doug, from California history and Jewish culture to trans-Pacific flying tips. I have also learned a few things about Doug, things that he may not readily admit to himself, such as his love for his students that made him go the untold extra mile for them, his love for the School of Information, and his love for Berkeley his alma mater.

He will be dearly missed.
January 17, 2020
David Wagner
Doug was the founding member of the security group here at Berkeley and a valued colleague who supported me from early in my career. He enriched the security group with his wisdom, pragmatic perspective, and ready laugh. His work was seminal and groundbreaking, from helping launch the field of usable security, being one of the early pioneers leading the way on adversarial machine learning, and early work in several other fields. It's inspiring and amazing how many different fields he helped birth.

I have many fond memories of Doug: his talk on digital money where he asked for a $20 bill from a spectator and then promptly destroyed it (ok, I didn't see that coming) to illustrate the need for atomicity, his firm advocacy for securing Berkeley's internal payment systems to protect the privacy of employees (I think his strong support for the staff who uncovered this says something about his character), his lecture in CS 161 where he taught Diffie-Hellman key exchange by acting out a scenario where Alice and Bob (whose parts were played by teddie bears) wanted to send their most secret messages to each other (love letters voiced by Doug: "my dearest pookie-wookie", etc.), and his brilliant advice to students in their qual exams about how to present their work and advance their career was a learning moment for me. He truly touched many lives.

His untimely passing is a real loss. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to work with Doug for a large chunk of his career and richer for having known him, and I'm grateful for the legacy he has left us.
January 17, 2020
Xiao Qiang
I have held deep respect for Doug over our 9 year collaboration researching internet censorship and developing anti-censorship technology as CO-PIs of the Berkeley Counter-Power Lab Project. Doug’s commitment, knowledge and mentorship has been decisive for the success of this project, including nurturing students and researchers to become the leading technologists in the field of internet freedom. He also provided valuable support and guidance as a board member of China Digital Times, a bilingual news publication.

Doug was an outstanding computer scientist, teacher and a wonderful colleague. I will miss his friendship, generosity and wisdom, from which I have benefited and learned a tremendous amount over the years. I find some comfort from knowing Doug's work in the internet freedom field has benefited tens of millions of users around the globe, especially those living under autocratic regimes, including China. I remember the first time we met in South Hall in 2006. I remember our countless lunch conversations, laughs, arguments, and illuminations over the past 13 years.

I will miss him deeply.
January 17, 2020
Anno Saxenian
Following on Nancy’s post about the dean selection process: Doug lured me into the Dean job, and then became an important source of moral support. He was an incredibly savvy observer of university politics, he was deeply committed to the I School—our mission, our students, our success—and he could recite even the most obscure passages from the APM by heart! Faculty meetings won’t be the same without Doug’s sharp mind and quick wit. I’ll miss him terribly.
January 17, 2020


Last updated:

February 19, 2020