Fred Cohen: The Godfather of Computer Viruses [ML B-Side]

In his 1984 seminal paper - Computer Viruses: Theory and Experiments - Dr. Fred Cohen not only introduced the name ‘computer virus’, a term invented by his mentor, Leonard Adelman, but was also the first to analyze computer viruses in a rigorous mathematical way, proving that computer viruses were not only practical - but that they were in fact inevitable.
Nate Nelson, our Sr. producer, spoke with Dr. Cohen about his early research into computer viruses, his work with the US army, the panicky response from the US government - and the parallels between computer viruses and mental viruses - i.e. memes.

Hosted By

Ran Levi

Co-Founder, PI Media

Born in Israel in 1975, Ran studied Electrical Engineering at the Technion Institute of Technology, and worked as an electronics engineer and programmer for several High Tech companies in Israel.
In 2007, created the popular Israeli podcast, Making History, with over 15 million downloads as of July 2022.
Author of 3 books (all in Hebrew): Perpetuum Mobile: About the history of Perpetual Motion Machines; The Little University of Science: A book about all of Science (well, the important bits, anyway) in bite-sized chunks; Battle of Minds: About the history of computer malware.

Special Guest

Fred Cohen

Trusted Advisor, Cybersecurity Guru

An American computer scientist and best known as the inventor of computer virus defense techniques". Cohen is best known for his pioneering work on computer viruses, the invention of high integrity operating system mechanisms now in widespread use, and automation of protection management functions.