Naama Barak
April 15

Israeli mathematician and Princeton professor Avi Wigderson is the recipient of the A.M. Turing Award, widely known as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” the Association for Computing Machinery has announced. 

“A leader in theoretical computer science research for four decades, Wigderson has made foundational contributions to the understanding of the role of randomness and pseudorandomness in computation,” the Association for Computing Machinery said of the choice to award the Israeli mathematician the prize.

“Outside of his work in randomness, Wigderson has been an intellectual leader in several other areas of theoretical computer science, including multi-prover interactive proofs, cryptography, and circuit complexity,” it added.

Wigderson is a professor at the School of Mathematics within Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS).

“In addition to his groundbreaking technical contributions, Wigderson is recognized as an esteemed mentor and colleague who has advised countless young researchers. His vast knowledge and unrivalled technical proficiency – coupled with his friendliness, enthusiasm, and generosity – have attracted many of the best young minds to pursue careers in theoretical computer science,” the Association concluded.

Born in Haifa to two Holocaust survivors, Wigderson completed his undergraduate studies in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, before continuing his education at Princeton University. Prior to joining the IAS, he was a faculty member at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“I am excited that the ACM has again recognized with this award the theory of computation community, which has contributed so much to computing practice and technology,” Wigderson said upon receiving the award.

“I feel lucky to be part of this extremely dynamic community, whose fundamental goals have deep conceptual, intellectual, and scientific meaning, well beyond practical motivations. My four decades in this field have been a continuous joyride, with fun problems, brilliant researchers and many students, postdocs and collaborators who have become close friends.”

The first annual A.M. Turing Award was distributed in 1966. It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician famous for helping decipher Enigma during World War II. It carries a $1 million prize, supported in recent years by Google.

Previous Israeli winners of the Turing Award include Michael Rabin (1976), Amir Pnueli (1996), Adi Shamir (2002), Judea Pearl (2011) and Shafi Goldwasser (2012).

In 2021, Wigderson won the Abel Prize, a prestigious prize in the field of mathematics that is awarded by the King of Norway. He is the first person to receive both the Abel and the Turing prizes.

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