László Lovász and Avi Wigderson to share the Abel Prize 2021

17 Mar 2021, by ablahatherell in News

The Abel Prize 2021 has been awarded to László Lovász of Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics (ELKH, MTA Institute of Excellence) and Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary and Avi Wigderson of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA, for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics.

The theory of ‘computational complexity’ – which concerns itself with the speed and efficiency of algorithms – was in its infancy in the 1970s, and is now an established field of both mathematics and theoretical computer science. Computational complexity has become important, providing the theoretical basis for internet security. Also in the 1970s a new generation of mathematicians realised that discrete mathematics had, in computer science, a new area of application. Today algorithms and internet security aspects are an integral part of everyday life for all of us. The work of László Lovász and Avi Wigderson has played an important part of this development.

“Lovász and Wigderson have been leading forces in this development over the last decades. Their work interlaces in many ways, and, in particular, they have both made fundamental contributions to understanding randomness in computation and in exploring the boundaries of efficient computation,” says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel committee. “Thanks to the leadership of these two, discrete mathematics and the relatively young field of theoretical computer science are now established as central areas of modern mathematics.”