Timothy May was born on December 21, 1951 in Bethesda, United States. He was a prolific and well-known computer technician, ideological writer, electronics engineer, and senior scientist at Intel in the early days of the company. Also known as Tim May and for being the most agitated leader of the group Cypherpunks.

Unot from the initial works that made him known, in his long career as an engineer and technician, he was "A New Physical Mechanism for Soft Errors in Dynamic Memories". This work was presented in conjunction with Murray wood during your stay at Intel. In this work, the problems that the company presented with its integrated circuits are discussed.

Later, May was able to identify the source of these problems. These were caused by alpha particles that interact with different parts of integrated circuits. Alpha particles are a form of radiation that affects the reliability of these circuits. This is because these particles can alter the operation of an integrated circuit. Under this effect, these particles could change the state of a stored value. With this cause alterations in the events within it. This has a strong impact on the reliability of these components. Especially in highly radioactive environments like nuclear plants, aerospace technology, and medicine.

Intel packaging

Thanks to the research carried out by Timothy May, the problem was identified and solved. His work was able to confirm that the failure was caused by the ceramic packaging that Intel and other companies used it on their circuits. This was generally made of clay and was not appropriate to deflect this type of radiation. This led to the properties of said material being changed. To improve their efficiency, they increased the load on each cell to reduce its susceptibility to radiation.

Later Timothy C. May y Murray wood, they presented their joint work “Alpha-Particle-Induced Soft Errors in Dynamic Memories” (Alpha particles induce errors in dynamic memories) . This work was published in the magazine IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices in January 1979. With this work May and Wood were awarded the prize IEEE WRG Baker in 1981.

As reported in 1993 the publication Wired, Timothy May 'retired' from Intel at 34 and stock enough to “never have to work flipping hamburgers at Wendy's” (the third largest fast food restaurant chain in the US)

Tim May, the cypherpunk leader

Sometime later, T. May became a founding member (along with Eric Hughes and John Gilmore) from the email list of Cypherpunks. Between 1992 and 2003, he was one of the most active members on the list, writing extensively on crypto and privacy. How he told himself, in the middle of 1988, May published "The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto" (The Cryptoanarchist Manifesto) and distributed it that year at the CRYPTO'88 and Hackers Conference. In this text, May actively promotes the need for a world connected by cryptographic means to protect privacy y maintain anonymity. All this in order to prevent governments and regulatory institutions in the world from violating the most important thing of each citizen: your freedom and civil rights. This document would become the fundamental basis of cryptanarchist thinking and the foundation for the emergence of cryptocurrencies.

In September 1992 Timothy May read this text at the first official meeting of the Cypherpunks and later, in September 1994, T. May published "The Cyphernothe mico" work where also included the Manifesto. Cyphernomicon is in the form of a 'Frequently Asked Questions', it is arranged by sections and contains many short notes with ideas and questions explained from a cypherpunk perspective, which advocates the use of strong cryptography to ensure privacy in exchanges of value and information. in the digital medium.

In December 1994, he also published the brief Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities. In that document, May openly spoke of the need for strong cryptographic systems and related technologies. He also related the impact of virtual communities, including networks, anonymous communications, MUDs, MOOs, and virtual realities of the type "Multiverse". Following these initial accomplishments, May's activities focused primarily on serving as a cryptanarchist activist.

Visionary and also controversial

Timothy May died of natural causes, in his house located in California December 13, 2018. After passing away, the New York Times, dedicated un reportage of his life in which the following stands out:

“Mr. May maintained a certain distance from the real world, leading a secluded life. He often wrote about arming himself and waiting for government agents to appear. After the decline of the Cypherpunks in the early 2000s, he began expressing racist views to other groups online.

Despite alienating many of his former allies, some of his ideas have come back into vogue with the recent rise of WikiLeaks and Bitcoin and the growing concern about government surveillance. ”

Timothy C. May, Early Advocate of Internet Privacy, Dies at 66 

Nathaniel Popper - New York Times

From Bit2Me we wanted to make at least one symbolic mention the week of his death and we published this short thread:

To this day, there is no doubt that he was a controversial character but with a very influential perspective.

"Timothy May was ahead of his time, he knew how to understand what was going to happen and what the hidden technologies were going to bring with them."

Steven levy about Timothy C. May after writing about him for Wired and in his book Crypto (2001)