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MIT just cracked open an historic time capsule–here’s what was inside

Historians in the News




In 1999–which may as well be 5,000 BC in internet years–the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology buried a time capsule.

The package, which was designed by architect Frank Gehry, contained internet history. Its contents were protected by a cryptography puzzle designed by MIT professor Ron Rivest, meant to keep it safe for decades. However, on May 16, the self-taught Belgian programmer Bernard Fabrot solved the complex calculation, which required 80 trillion successive squarings of a number. So two decades after the time capsule was buried, it’s been unearthed, thanks to the unpredictably fast advance of technology.

Daniela Rus, the current director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and former lab directors Anant Agarwal and Ed Fredkin rediscovered the contents last week. According to MIT’s Adam Conner-Simons, the scene was something akin to “a group of giddy schoolchildren opening Christmas presents.”

Read entire article at Fast Company

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