Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Burt Kaliski Jr. ’84, SM ’87, PhD ’88

Internet security expert embraces public service

Burt Kaliski Jr. is one of the people to thank for safeguarding sensitive information during your next online transaction. As chief scientist at RSA Laboratories, Kaliski led the development of the Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS), among the earliest tools for better Internet security that are widely used by technology companies today.

Computers, math, and codes have long fascinated Kaliski, who earned his degrees in electrical engineering and computer science with a research focus on cryptography. His MIT education is still paying off. “The skill of research and how to break down a problem—that’s been valuable throughout my career,” he says. 

This story is part of the November/December 2012 Issue of the MIT News Magazine
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

His MIT connections have been equally beneficial. His advisor, Professor Ronald Rivest, cofounded RSA, which Kaliski joined soon after graduation. When the company was acquired by EMC in 2006, Kaliski served as the founding director of the EMC Innovation Network, which encourages university collaborations. In 2011 he moved to an RSA spinoff, Verisign, to oversee its long-term technology vision as senior VP and CTO of Verisign Labs. His new job keeps him engaged with cutting-edge academic researchers as he develops intellectual-property strategy. 

MIT continues to play an important role for Kaliski and his wife, Michele Kaliski, SM ’87, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering, focusing on manufacturing management. One mutual interest is supporting the Public Service Center (PSC), which promotes leadership and service opportunities that match MIT’s innovative culture. “We really wanted to invest in people who are going to have an impact beyond themselves,” Michele says. “It’s not a one-time investment. It multiplies.”

The Kaliskis were among the first sponsors of the Global Challenge, an annual public-service innovation competition that invites participation from the worldwide MIT community. “It’s amazing to see how much could be done with the right investment of technology,” Burt says, citing a student invention that aids drug delivery and another one that purifies water. “That’s such a practical way to put your knowledge to work.” 

These days, the Kaliskis are settling in to their new home in McLean, Virginia, after 15 years in the Boston area, and they are adjusting to an empty nest. Though neither their son nor their daughter attends MIT, both served as unpaid interns for the PSC. “We see it as a way to get them introduced to the concept of public service,” Burt says. “There’s a benefit in working with MIT and its community and focusing on something that’s transformative.” 

Join the discussion on emerging technology at EmTech MIT and discover how experts plan to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time.

Learn more and register
Next in MIT News
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.