Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tragic Losses

I'd like to remember two young people who's lives were taken way too early. I didn't know either well but both played large roles in two different communities.

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, a young researcher in theoretical computer science, passed away. He's had a number of great algorithmic results most notably his solely authored paper giving a polynomial-time algorithm to construct Ramanujan graphs. Luca Trevisan and MSR give their remembrances. Update (10/5): See also Scott Aaronson, which include comments form Michael's mother and father and a Daily Cal article.

Scout Schultz, in a story that made national news, studied computer engineering at Georgia Tech. On Saturday September 16th Scout was shot by a member of the Georgia Tech campus police. A vigil was held the following Monday, quite peaceful until a splinter group (mostly not Georgia Tech students) broke off, marched to the Georgia Tech police department and set a police car on fire. 

Scout Schultz
The death and its aftermath have shooken us all up at Georgia Tech. What has impressed me during this times is the strength of the Georgia Tech student body. Instead of focusing on blame, they have come together to remember Scout, a leader of the LGBQT community on campus. Being in a liberal city in a conservative state, the politics of the student body is quite mixed, but it doesn't divide the students, rather it brings them together. There's hope yet.


  1. Thats horrible. What happened to Michael?

  2. The IAS has announced the passing of Vladimir Voevodsky … age 51 … alas, so many true pioneers have passed this year at ages far too young. :(