Monday, April 09, 2007

Nancy Lynch is Awarded Knuth Prize

The ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT) has awarded its 2007 Knuth Prize to Nancy Lynch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for her influential contributions to the theory of distributed systems. Further information on the award is available here. Nancy Lynch is the first woman to receive this award since its inception in 1996.

The award of the Knuth Prize to Nancy is a great advertisement for the areas of distributed computing, and modelling, verification and validation of computing systems. Congratulations to Nancy! I look forward to seeing more awards to outstanding women in computer science.


mohammad said...

There is an interesting comment on this in Comp. Compl. blog. An anonymous reader asks:
"Hmph, does distributed computing really count as TCS?? Even this famous FLP result is not mathematically deep."

This has caused quite some interesting reactions (also, mentioning the name "concurrency theory"). It is worth having a peek.

Luca Aceto said...


Thanks for the pointer. I am not surprised by the comment on the Complexity blog. In fact, I sort of expected to read a comment like this on that blog. We are all very parochial in classifying research and researchers. If anybody is not immediately recognized as a member of our tribe, then (s)he is not worthy of a prize that we perceive to be part of our heritage; in this case, this is the Knuth prize.

The comment by anonymous #8 says:

It seems a lot of people confuse "depth" for "mathematical sophistication". IMO, what should matter in our community is "computational depth", in the sense that we should value a result if it exposes or explains something that is either fundamental or has wide ranging implications in our understanding of computation.

I don't really care whether a theorem is proved using combinatorics, algebra or topology. What I care about is the result, and what it means about computation. If the mathematics used are "sophisticated" then great (especially if it means we can use new machinery), but I don't believe we should judge a result on this basis.

Well said!

deid said...

PAROCHIAL!!! Great..