Herb Lin is a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Hank J. Holland Fellow in cyber policy and security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University. His research interests concern the policy-related dimensions of cybersecurity and cyberspace; he is particularly interested in and knowledgeable about the use of offensive operations in cyberspace, especially as instruments of national policy. In addition to his positions at Stanford University, he is chief scientist emeritus for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, at the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, where he served from 1990 through 2014 as study director of major projects on public policy and information technology, and adjunct senior research scholar and senior fellow in cybersecurity (not in residence) at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies in the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Before his NRC service, he was a professional staff member and staff scientist for the House Armed Services Committee (1986–90), where his portfolio included defense policy and arms control issues. He received his doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He is also a longtime folk and swing dancer and a poor magician. Apart from his work on cyberspace and cybersecurity, he has published on cognitive science, science education, biophysics, and arms control and defense policy. He also consults on K–12 math and science education.