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Professor Christos Papadimitriou Awarded the 2018 Harvey Prize

Oct 08 2019 | By Bernadette Young | Photo Credit: Timothy Lee Photographers

The Harvey Prize for Science and Technology for 2018 is awarded to professor Christos Papadimitriou for his work on the theory of algorithms and computational complexity and its application to the sciences. Papadimitriou will receive the award at a ceremony at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Technion first presented the award in 1972 and two awards are given yearly. The scientists behind the genome editing technology CRISPR/Cas9 are also awardees this year.

“Professor Papadimitriou is considered the founding father of algorithmic game theory, defining key concepts, formulating key questions and proving basic results,” said Peretz Lavie, professor and president of the Technion. “He is a pioneer in the application of algorithms and complexity to other fields, including economics, biology and more.”

With a career spanning over four decades, Papadimitriou has contributed to complexity research, written research papers, text books, even novels. He has been awarded the Knuth Prize, IEEE’s John von Neumann Medal, the EATCS Award, the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award, and the Gödel Prize. He is a fellow of the Association for Computer Machinery and the National Academy of Engineering, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

He authored the widely used Computational Complexity, as well as four other textbooks, and has taught at UC Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, the National Technical University of Athens, Stanford, and UC San Diego before coming to Columbia.

He received his BS in electrical engineering from Athens Polytechnic in 1972. He has a MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in electrical engineering/computer science from Princeton, received in 1974 and 1976, respectively.

A long-time collaborator of his, professor Mihalis Yannakakis, was a conduit to his coming to Columbia. They worked on numerous papers together and have known each other since undergrad in Greece. Shared Yannakakis, “Christos is a good friend and collaborator, it was obvious that we should work together here in the department.”

“Frankly, I also feel that I am accepting this prize on behalf of both myself and Mihalis,” said Papadimitriou, who co-authored many key papers with Yannakakis. “Without him I would not be who I am. Any scholarly honor bestowed on either one of us, the other owns a big share of it.”

Professor Papadimitriou is considered the founding father of algorithmic game theory, defining key concepts, formulating key questions and proving basic results.

Peretz Lavie
President, Technion Institute