Demaine named Presburger Award recipient

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February 27, 2013

Professor Erik Demaine is cited for his contributions to computational geometry and data structures.

Erik Demaine, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and principal investigator in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), has been honored with the 2013 European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) Presburger Award for young scientists.

Demaine was selected for his “outstanding contributions in several fields of algorithms, namely computational geometry, data structures, graph algorithms and recreational algorithms,” according to the EATCS website. “His work has shown promising applications to computer graphics, sensor networks, molecular biology, programmable matter, and manufacturing and engineering.”

Demaine was cited for his work in computational geometry and data structures, where he has made progress on classical problems such as the carpenter’s rule problem, the hinged-dissection problem, the prefix-sum problem and the dynamic optimality conjecture. He is also credited with starting the field of computational origami with his book on the theory of folding.

Demaine, a MacArthur Fellow and Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, is a member of the Theory of Computation and the Algorithms groups at CSAIL. An accomplished artist, his interests include origami and glassblowing. Several of his curved origami sculptures are housed in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Since 2010, EATCS has presented the Presburger Award to a young scientist for outstanding contributions in theoretical computer science. The award is named after Mojzesz Presburger, who accomplished his work on decidability of the theory of addition (which today is called Presburger arithmetic) as a student in 1929.

Demaine will be presented with the Presburger Award at the annual International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming (ICALP), held in Latvia in July.