Saturday, April 30, 2005

Clemens Lautemann

Some sad news from Thomas Schwentick.
What we have feared during the last weeks and months came true yesterday morning: Clemens Lautemann died at the age of 53 from cancer.
Most recently Lautemann had been working on logical characterizations of complexity classes but I will remember him most for his beautiful proof (or here) that BPP, the class of languages with efficient probabilistical computatins, is in the second level of the polynomial-time hierarchy. In 1983 Sipser had shown BPP in the fourth level, and very soon after Gács and Lautemann independently showed BPP in the second level. Lautemann gave a very simple combinatorial proof that I consider one of the prettiest applications of the probabilistic method to complexity.

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