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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fulkerson Prize

The winners of the 2006 Fulkerson Prize have been announced. The Fulkerson prize is given every three years to up to three papers in discrete mathematics. Great papers all. The Robertson-Seymour Theorem required twenty papers. Roughly it states that any graph property (like planarity) closed under edge contractions and edge and vertex deletions has a finite set of forbidden minors. This result has an interesting consequence that all such properties have a polynomial-time algorithm though there is no known method of constructing the algorithm from the property.

I disagree with Luca and Oded on awards. While theory is a team sport, we do like ways to recognize the very best work and individuals in our field. And awards get us talking about the best work. Even when we don't agree with the winners, the discussions that follow help us understand what we think is important.

By the end of the month we'll know the winners of the Fields Medal and the Nevanlinna prize. The excitement mounts.

18 comments:

  1. This years FORTNOW award, presented
    to the blog entry that yields the
    largest number of stupid comments,
    goes to Lance Fortnow's blog entry
    that merely pointed to the list of
    FOCS papers (around 180 comments, around
    10 different threads. If the number `180'
    is off by only a little bit and soemone
    bothers to post about it, that would be
    an excellent example of a stupid comment). It remains to be seen
    if his most recent posting on
    the Fulkerson prize, may yield more
    than 180 comments about awards.
    Probably not.

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  2. This is an excellent collection of papers to receive the prize. Congratulations to the committee in charge, and to Paul Seymour for his 3rd(?) Fulkerson Prize.

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  3. Four years ago, in this month, most mathematicians knew who the Fields medal prize-winners were. How have they managed to keep it a secret this year? (O.K., there are widespread rumors to the effect that Perelman will be one of them, but this is a given if he is 40 or under. Who are the others?)

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  4. Terence Tao is another favorite, but that still leaves up to two.

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  5. > Congratulations to the committee in charge,
    > and to Paul Seymour for his 3rd(?) Fulkerson Prize.

    Yes, and headed for a 4th (!) with the Strong Perfect Graph Theorem (just published in the Annals).

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  6. Terrance Tao is getting the award for sure. I know it because of a first hand information from one of the "elite" group of mathematicians

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  7. Incidentally both Grisha Perelman and Terence Tao are gold medalists at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Terence Tao is, to date, the youngest ever gold medalist, winning it at the age of 13 (his first appearance was at 11, winning a bronze). Grisha Perelman scored a perfect 42 in his first and only appearance at the Olympiad.

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  8. I still remember Terence from the IMO in Cuba. He was a rather well adjusted 11 year old (almost 12) playing with the local guides and reading comic books. I'm happy to see that he has continued along such a distinguished path.

    Alex Lopez-Ortiz

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  9. What about strong candidates for the Nevanlinna prize? Any guesses?

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  10. Ran Raz or bust!

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  11. What about strong candidates for the Nevanlinna prize? Any guesses?

    Xiaoyun Wang or Agrawal (can it be both?)

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  12. Sooner or later Khot will get it for sure.

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  13. Sooner or later Khot will get it for sure.

    At first I thought this was a compliment, but now it sounds like a veiled threat.

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  14. How about Leonid Levin? Has he got one already? ... probably a Turing award soon? Another one who deserves a big reward for his original work and great contributions is Peter Gacs.

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  15. Levin is too old, you have to be under 40 to win it. Plus you would have to give it to Cook first who beat Levin in time of discovery and publication. In fact Leo did not complete the proof and writing of his result until after he had been warned by Kolmogorov that a similar result had been discovered in the West.

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  16. you would have to give it to Cook first who beat Levin in time of discovery and publication
    nice wording buddy :(
    remember, Levin has done more than an independent proof of the existence of NP-complete problems ...

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  17. nice wording buddy :(

    By no means an uncommon choice of words in American English:

    beat v. beat, beat�en, (b t n) or beat beat�ing, beats v. tr.
    ...
    8. Informal.
    ...
    b. To arrive or finish before (another): We beat you home by five minutes.

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  18. Any information on the 2006 Tucker prize? (It doesn't seem to be announced on the website yet.)

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