I would like to learn how hashing functions are discovered / created. In part of this process I think it would be helpful to see the original works or papers of any authors of cryptographic or non-cryptographic hash functions that may exist.

Quora offers some insight to get started:

Diffie and Hellman called for a cryptographic hash function in their landmark 1976 paper on public key encryption. While they didn't describe an algorithm, they sketched how it could be used.

In 1979, Rabin came up with the first algorithm for digital signatures that included a cryptographic hash. At the same time Yuval and Merkle defined base attacks in the field and requirements respectively. There was work on chaining and collision resistance concepts into the late 80's.

Ron Rivest developed the MD2 algorithm in 1989, and it had been in use since. It stood up to attack for 8 years and was the first to be widely used in open standards.

But a search for things like "1979, Rabin paper hash function" doesn't bring up any original papers. It brought up this which cited some stuff like M.O. Rabin, “Digitalized signatures,” but it's not available from what I can see, unless this is the same thing. It doesn't necessarily need to be the original original works, but just something that introduces a new hash function with some level of detail would be fine. I've been looking around a bit for some other stuff but haven't found anything related to SHA-*, MD*, etc, other than this for MD5 so far, and another for SHA-1. But these are more specifications and don't have the authors insights expressed as much like you'd find in a research paper. Wondering if there are any original research-ish papers or works that shed some light on how they went about creating the function, or at least some of the math involved that was used.

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    $\begingroup$ somewhat related though not necessarily cryptographic crypto.stackexchange.com/questions/56404/… $\endgroup$
    – kodlu
    Feb 7, 2019 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Ceriath That appears to be an answer rather than a comment; Comments are supposed to be used to request more information or ask for clarification. Please refrain from posting answers in the comments. $\endgroup$
    – Ella Rose
    Feb 7, 2019 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ This question is way too broad in my opinion: in its current phrasing, the question is basically "can you recommend some papers about hash functions?". There are hundreds of such papers, all of which might be relevant depending on what you're looking for. There is a historic question here, a construction question (block cipher based, permutation based, ...) and a question about design of primitives. $\endgroup$
    – Aleph
    Feb 8, 2019 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


MD4,5 and 6 can be found on Rivest's website, but 4 and 5 are both RFCs which won't have the insight, while there is a paper and a talk to MD6. There also is a paper for SHA3/Keccak.


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