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March 25: Carnegie Mellon Announces Winners of 2008 Katayanagi Prizes in Computer Science


Anne Watzman                       
Byron Spice

Carnegie Mellon Announces Winners of
2008 Katayanagi Prizes in Computer Science

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University, in cooperation with the Tokyo University of Technology (TUT) in Tokyo, Japan, will award the second annual Katayanagi Prizes in Computer Science to two outstanding members of the world's computer science community. The prizes have been endowed with a gift from Japanese entrepreneur and education advocate Mr. Koh Katayanagi, who founded TUT and several other technical institutions in Japan over the last 60 years.

Christos Papadimitriou The awards include the Katayanagi Prize for Research Excellence and the Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize. The former is awarded to an established researcher with a record of outstanding, sustained achievement, while the latter honors someone recognized as an emerging research leader. The prizes include a cash honorarium. Awardees are chosen by a committee comprised of members of each institution.
Each award recipient will deliver a 45-minute lecture at Carnegie Mellon beginning at 3:15 p.m., April 10 in 7500 Wean Hall. The honorees will also lecture at TUT in Tokyo on May 23.
This year's Prize for Research Excellence goes to Christos Papadimitriou, the C. Lester Hogan Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley. The recipient of the Emerging Leadership Award is Erik D. Demaine, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Professor and associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Papadimitriou is an internationally recognized expert on the theory of algorithms and complexity, and its applications to databases, optimization, artificial intelligence, networks and game theory. He is the author of five books, including "Computational Complexity," one of the most widely used textbooks in the field of computational complexity theory, and "Turing," a novel published by the MIT Press in 2003. The latter is described as a love triangle that frames the main story, a series of lessons on the history and future of thought delivered by a super-program named after the first computer scientist, Alan Turing. At Berkeley, Papadimitriou is also a member of a band made up of professors and graduate students called Lady X and the Positive Eigenvalues.
Erick Demaine Demaine is a rising star in the area of theoretical computer science with interests in computational geometry, data structures, algorithms and combinatorics. A MacArthur Fellow, he is especially well known for his work in computational origami, the mathematics of paper folding. The elegant shapes he fashions with folded paper in pursuit of his theories are considered to be works of art. Several pieces are currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of an exhibit titled "Design and the Elastic Mind."
"The Katayanagi Prizes continue to honor the best and brightest in the field of computer science," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "Computer science plays a critical role everywhere in the world today, but its greatest researchers and practitioners often go unsung. Through our collaboration with the Tokyo University of Technology, and the vision and generosity of Mr. Koh Katayanagi, we are able to honor them."
"I wish to thank the members of the Carnegie Mellon and TUT Katayanagi Prize selection committees for their endeavors and patience in accomplishing their hard duties," said TUT President Hideo Aiso. "Both winners are internationally rcognized researchers who have made outstanding contributions to academic and industrial progress. I personally have become aware of very useful theories and algorithms through reading Dr. Papadimitriou's textbooks, and I have been very much interested in Dr. Demaine's research in the emerging field of origami mathematics, since origami is a part of Japanese traditional art and culture. I am convinced that their awards really enhance the value and authority of the Katayanagi Prizes and will give a significant stimulus to academic and processional activities in computer science and technology."
"We are very pleased to be able to honor these two distinguished computer scientists," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. "Christos Papadimitriou has made many contributions to the areas of algorithms and optimization. He has eloquently expressed the viewpoint that the field of computer science provides important concepts for mathematics and science, in addition to providing them useful tools. Erik Demaine has demonstrated to the world that the art of origami has both deep theoretical foundations and amazing creative possibilities."

(Pictured are Katayanagi Prize winners Christos Papadimitriou (top) and Erik Demaine)