Selmer Center in Secure Communication

A short history of coding theory and cryptography in Bergen

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Coding theory has been a research topic at the University of Bergen since the 1970s (Ernst SelmerTor HellesethTroleiv KløveJohannes Mykkeltveit).

In 1992 NAVF initiated an evaluation of all groups in informatics at the universities in Norway. The evaluation was performed by a group of internationally recognized experts. The committee observed that in the period 1988-92, the coding/crypto group in Bergen had the largest number of papers (27) published in internationally refereed journals among all the informatics groups in Norway. It further stated that “Many of the results are quite impressive, and show the strength of the main researchers Kløve and Helleseth” and “Considering its small size, the group has excellent international contacts”. The committee recommended: “The group should also be encouraged to broaden their work in cryptography”. The activities of the group were extended in the period after 1995. A strategic university program financed by the Norwegian Research Council (1995-98) was an important part of this. The group was also strengthened and the scope widened when Danish cryptologist Lars Knudsen joined the group in 1997. Further, Belgian cryptologist Bart Preneel has been an adjunct professor since 1998 and Kjell Jørgen Hole adjunct professor of telecommunication (coding theory) since 2001.

The high rate of publication in leading journals has been kept up and increased. The group has close co-operation with a number of international researchers in coding theory and cryptology. In the period 1995-2000, members of the group (Preneel not counted) published 91 papers in internationally refereed journals, with 46 different co-authors from 17 different countries in Europe (10 countries), America (2 countries) and Asia (5 countries). A similar number of papers were published in conference proceedings.

The group's international standing is illustrated by the fact that Tor Helleseth was elected IEEE Fellow in 1997 for his contributions to coding theory and cryptography and Torleiv Kløve was elected IEEE Fellow in 2002 for his contributions to the theory of coding theory and error detecting codes. Torleiv Kløve is elected member of the Board of Governors for the IEEE Information Theory Society for the period 2001-2003, and Lars Knudsen is elected director of the International Association of Cryptologic Research, also for the period 2001-2003. Helleseth and Kløve have both served as associate editors for IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Helleseth is presently an editor for Designs, Codes and Cryptography and Kløve editor for Nordic Journal of Computing.

Members of the group have been invited to contribute to new major reference works. Helleseth and Kumar authored the chapter (almost 100 pages) Sequences with low correlations, for The Handbook of Coding Theory (Elsevier 1998), and the chapter Pseudonoise Sequences in The Communications Handbook (CRC and IEEE Press, 1996), reproduced in The Mobile Communications Handbook (CRC and IEEE Press, 1997). Helleseth and Kløve authored the chapter Algebraic Coding Theory in Volume 1 of Wiley Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (Wiley, 1999).

The group has organized a number of international conferences and workshops in Norway over the last decade, including Eurocrypt’93 (Ullensvang), IEEE Information Theory Workshop 1997 (Longyearbyen), and Sequences and their Applications 2001 (Bergen). We have also organized Nordic Summer Schools in Coding Theory and in Cryptology. A large number of guests from many countries have visited the group for longer and shorter periods. Specifically, the number of guest researchers (and total lengths of visits in weeks) in the group during the years 1995 to 2000 were 5 (34), 6 (40), 12 (86), 6 (37), 7 (37), and 5 (21), respectively.

In 2001/2002 NFR initiated a new evaluation of Information and Communication Technology in Norwegian Universities and Colleges. The evaluation was again performed by a group of internationally recognized experts. The committee stated that:

The Coding Theory and Cryptography Group of 5 faculty (4 full professors and 1 adjunct professor) and 1 post-doc. may be the best ICT group of any kind in Norway and occupies a distinguished position in the international community.”

and they gave the following evaluation of the group:

This group is one of the gems of the Norwegian scientific scene, not just in the context of ICT. The past performance of this group is excellent. Their contributions in coding theory are in the very international forefront.


On Feb. 11, 2003, the 83rd anniversary of Selmer, a research center with the University of Bergen, the Selmer Center, was established.