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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spielman Receives the Nevanlinna Prize

Dan Spielman wins the Nevanlinna prize for "smoothed analysis of Linear Programming, algorithms for graph-based codes and applications of graph theory to Numerical Computing." Let's also not forget that as an undergrad Spielman co-authored one of my favorite complexity results, PP is Closed Under Intersection. A nice recognition for just a brilliant career.

Other IMU prizes awarded at the ICM opening ceremonies in Hyderabad, India: The Field medals go to Elon Lindenstrauss (Ergodic Theory), Ngô Bảo Châu (Algebraic Geometry), Stanislav Smirnov (Statistical Physics) and Cédric Villani (Mathematical Physics). The Gauss Prize goes to Yves Meyer (Number Theory) and the first Chern medal goes to Louis Nirenberg (Differential Equations).

Tim Gowers is blogging the meeting and the ICM is offering live streaming of the plenary sessions. The Nevanlinna Prize lecture will be given Saturday at 4:15 AM Eastern time. Also notable is Irit Dinur on PCPs at 12:45 AM Eastern Saturday morning.


  1. Lance's blog and Dick's complement one another nicely today, in that Spielman's work exemplifies Dick Lipton's theme "Proofs that tell us why.”

    More broadly, numerous "Proofs that tell us why” are being recognized among today's IMU awards and prizes ... this is nice to see.

  2. For some reason I'd been expecting Subhash Khot. But Dan Spielman is well deserved and certainly has a longer track record. Irit Dinur seems like she might be a future candidate among the under 40 crowd.

  3. Congratulations to Dan! Here is the prize committee's brief description of his work.

  4. feeling very happy for dan!

    subhash khot's main work is still unproven and would be a bad precedence to give him prizes, which are supposed to be based on accomplishments. he has already received far more than he deserves. future accomplishments may make him eligible for the prizes, but phleaase not now.

  5. I see that Elan Lindenstrauss—one of today’s ICM Field Medalists—is a graduate of Israel's Talpiot Program.

    Is Elan (Major Lindenstrauss) the highest-ranking military officer ever to receive a Fields Medal?

    Such questions touch upon vital issues that many in the STEM community care about passionately ... and that I hope people can post about thoughtfully and respectfully.

  6. Congrats to Professor Spielman. He taught me an undergraduate algorithms course. His enthusiasm for and interest in the subject matter was truly contagious.

  7. It's Elon Lindenstrauss, not "Elan".

  8. Doh ... "Elan" ... yeah I saw it ... seconds too late ... :(

    To balance my bad spelling with positive STEM karma, maybe I'd better mention that Elon's work on ergodic dynamical processes has done much for engineers to "tell us why" (in Dick Lipton's phrase) the quantum simulation of noisy processes is generically easier than might be expected.

    It's straightforward: ergodic Hamiltonian processes *look* like noisy processes; noisy processes can be Lindblad-compressed; compressed processes can be pulled-back; pulled-back processes can be simulated efficiently.

    As Harry Furstenberg's ICM appreciation, The work of Elon Lindenstrauss, quotes Lindenstrauss as saying: "The only thing which is really needed is some form of recurrence which produces the complicated orbits which are the life-and-blood of ergodic theory”

    That is the short reason why complicated dynamical orbits are moving to center stage as the life-and-blood of real-world quantum systems engineering ... and why we engineers care about the ICM awards in general, and (outstanding) blogs like this one in particular. So thank you, Elon!

  9. comparing with small breakthrough in TCS like RSA, these math toys are just craps... Not to mention the 203x edifice...

  10. R stands for Ron not Rivest :} :|

  11. it's the matter of time, not the ethical point in timeline :-) :-)

  12. I think Dan's Nevanlinna Prize is really well-deserved as far as I see his contributions in both algorithms and complexity/coding. Congrats to him.

    Mohammad Hajiaghayi