Szemerédi Awarded Abel Prize |

Written by Sue Gee |

Friday, 23 March 2012 |

This year's Abel Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics, has gone to Endre Szemerédi, a pure mathematician who has provided a number of results that have been important in computer science. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters established the Abel Prize, which is worth 6 million Norwegian kroner (around $1 million US) in 2003. It has been awarded to Endre Szemerédi,
According to Nils Stenseth, president of the academy, who announced the award, Szemerédi's work:
Szemerédi and his Hungarian collaborators Miklós Ajtai and Janós Komlós discovered an optimal sorting network for parallel processing in 1983, but he is best known for the theorem, proved in 1975, that establishes the presence of arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions within any set of integers that has nonzero limiting density. Roughly speaking, this means that if you take an infinite set of integers that has enough diversity then you can still find runs of arithmetic progressions of any length. This had been an unsolved problem for decades after it was first posed in 1936 by Hungarian mathematicians Paul Turán and Paul Erdös. As part of the proof he also provided a tool, known as the Szemerédi regularity lemma, which gives a deeper understanding of large graphs or networks. This lemma asserts that every graph can be partitioned into roughly equal parts so that the connections between the parts are essentially pseudo random. The lemma has also helped with understanding the artificial intelligence idea known as "Probably Approximately Correct" or PAC learning". Szemerédi holds positions both at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics in Budapest and Rutgers University and has published over 200 papers, spanning five decades. At the age of 71, he continues active research work, and according to colleagues shows no signs of slowing down. In their foreword to
This volume, published to mark Szemerédi's 70th birthday, in 2010 is a collection of research papers contributed by his colleagues and friends. The topics include extension and applications of the regularity lemma, the existence of k-term arithmetic progressions, in various subsets of the integers, extremal problems in hypergraphs theory, and random graphs.
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