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RebeccaMercuri
2004–2005
Harvard University
Computer Science
Transparency and Trust in Computational Systems

Rebecca Mercuri, a computer scientist and founder of the consulting firm Notable Software, Inc., is a specialist in digital real-time systems, computer security, and computer public policy. She has conducted research related to electronic voting issues since 1989 and is recognized internationally as one of the leading experts on this subject.

Mercuri’s research involves the formulation of a methodology for counterbalancing transparency and trust in computational systems, concepts that are inherently intertwined, especially in security-related applications, but whose relationships are not well understood. In this investigation, she plans to employ her prior work involving voter-verified balloting systems to accommodate the simultaneous (and conflicting) need for anonymity and auditability, as well as other models, such as those based on cryptography.

Mercuri is credited as the originator of the “Mercuri Method” for providing independent auditability for fully electronic voting systems through the use of voter-verified paper audit trails. She provided testimony to the US Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, following the November 2000 presidential election and subsequently was referenced in one of the briefs presented to the US Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. She has also presented written and/or oral testimony for the US House Committee on Science, the Federal Election Commission, the US Commission on Civil Rights, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the UK Cabinet. Mercuri writes the quarterly “Security Watch” column in Communications of the ACM and has written more than three dozen papers on computer-related subjects.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo