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Thursday, April 17, 2008

My First Grand Student

Today I am in Madison, Wisconsin where Scott Diehl has just defended his thesis. Scott's advisor, Dieter van Melkebeek, was my advisee at Chicago, making Scott my first Grand Student. I've waited a long time for a grand student, my first student Carsten Lund graduated back in 1991. But Carsten went to AT&T and my next student Lide Li also went into industry. But now with three students in academia (including Sophie Laplante at Paris-Sud and Rahul Santhanam going to Edinburgh), Scott will be the first of many.

Actually what I really want is an infinite tree below me, but König's lemma says I needed a grand student first.

Diehl's thesis is on time-space tradeoff's for satisfiability. I worked in this area about a decade ago then extended some of that work with Dieter who then worked on it with Scott, a passing of knowledge from generation to generation. The symbolism is so, umm, symbolic.

So as not to slight the other members of the family: Scott's academic aunt, my most recent student Varsha Dani, graduated last quarter. And just two days ago I was back at U. Chicago for Sourav Chakraborty's successful defense (Sourav is a student of Babai).

It's so nice to see the young ones grow up.

5 comments:

  1. The advisor-student relationship is indeed precious. In talking to my students, I find myself saying often "My advisor David Shmoys would say ..." (Oded has made a similar comment about his advisor Shimon Even).

    aravind srinivasan

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  2. Thanks, Lance! I enjoyed having you on my committee!

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  3. Also, aren't most of the Math/CS people academic descendants of Euler?

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  4. Actually what I really want is an infinite tree below me, but König's lemma says I needed a grand student first.

    only if you limit yourself to finitely many students.

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  5. Anonymous 3: No. At the Mathematics Genealogy Project there is an artificial link showing Lagrange as Euler's student. Lagrange, however, has no degree, hence no advisor.

    http://www.genealogy.ams.org/id.php?id=17864

    Therefore only about 1 in 50 Math/CS graduates have Euler in their pedigree.

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