Avi Wigderson Gains Turing Award
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Israeli mathematician and computer scientist, Avi Wigderson, is the recipient of the 2023 ACM A.M Turing Award which carries a $1 million prize with financial support from Google.

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Wigderson is being honored

"for foundational contributions to the theory of computation, including reshaping our understanding of the role of randomness in computation and for his decades of intellectual leadership in theoretical computer science." 

Currently the Herbert H. Maass Professor at the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, Wigderson made a career of studying complexity theory and has made foundational contributions to the understanding of the role of randomness and pseudo randomness in computation.

According to the new entry on the ACM's A.M.Turing Award site:

Computer scientists have discovered a remarkable connection between randomness and computational difficulty (i.e., identifying natural problems that have no efficient algorithms). Working with colleagues, Wigderson authored a highly influential series of works on trading hardness for randomness. They proved that, under standard and widely believed computational assumptions, every probabilistic polynomial time algorithm can be efficiently derandomized (namely, made fully deterministic). In other words, randomness is not necessary for efficient computation. This sequence of works revolutionized our understanding of the role of randomness in computation, and the way we think about randomness.

Wigderson is the first person to receive both the Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize of Computer Science, and the Abel Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, having shared the latter with László Lovász of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, see  2021 Abel Prize Shared By Math and Computer Science

He was also the recipient, in 2019, of the ACM/IEEE Donald E. Knuth Prize, an award made for contributions to the foundations of computer science being selected for his work in several areas including randomized computation, cryptography, circuit complexity, proof complexity, parallel computation, and the understanding of fundamental graph properties. Our report of that award includes an extensive video in which Wigderson talks about his early life, his love of maths and his route into computer science before going on to complexity theory. 

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 April 2024 )