May 25, 2021 13:02
Abel Prize awarded to László Lovász

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2021 to László Lovász of Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics (ELKH, MTA Institute of Excellence) and Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and Avi Wigderson of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA. This prize is often referred to as the Nobel Prize for mathematicians.

They received the prize for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics.

The theory of ‘computational complexity’ – which concerns itself with the speed and efficiency of algorithms – first emerged in the 1970s and is now an established field of both mathematics and theoretical computer science. Computational complexity is now a very important field, providing the theoretical basis for internet security. Also in the 1970s, a new generation of mathematicians realised that discrete mathematics had a new area of application in computer science. Today algorithms and internet security applications are an integral part of everyday life for all of us.

“Lovász and Wigderson have been leading forces in this development over the last few decades. Their work interlaces in many ways, and, in particular,

they have both made fundamental contributions to understanding randomness in computation and in exploring the boundaries of efficient computation,”

says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee. He continues: “Thanks to the ground-breaking work of these two, discrete mathematics and the relatively young field of theoretical computer science are now firmly established as central areas of modern mathematics.”

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