Technion Graduate Wins the Abel Prize

Technion Graduate Prof. Avi Wigderson receives the Abel Prize - cited as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics

Technion graduate Professor Avi Wigderson has received the 2021 Abel Prize. Awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, it is the most important prize in mathematics, and equivalent in its importance to the Nobel Prize for mathematicians. A faculty member at Princeton University, Prof. Wigderson shares the prize with his friend and colleague László Lovász of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, “for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics.”  

Prof. Wigderson was born in Haifa in 1956 and completed his B.A. in Computer Science from the   Technion’s Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science in 1980. He went on to complete a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton, where he is currently a researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies. Over the years he has published hundreds of articles and won a series of awards and scholarships, including the Alon Scholarship, the Gôdel  Prize, the Knuth Prize, and the Nevanlinna Prize.

The Abel Prize website states: “Wigderson is known for his ability to see links between apparently unrelated areas. He has deepened the connections between mathematics and computer science… His contribution to enlarging and deepening the field of ‘complexity theory’ – which concerns itself with the speed and efficiency of algorithms – is arguably greater than that of any other individual. Wigderson has conducted research into every major open problem in complexity theory. The most important present-day application of complexity theory is internet cryptography. Early in his career, Wigderson made fundamental contributions in this area, including the zero-knowledge proof, which today is being used in cryptocurrency technology.”

Professor Dan Geiger, Dean of the Taub Faculty of Computer Science said, “Winning reflects the vital relationship between mathematics and computer science, and basic science in uses such as cryptography. Receiving the Abel Prize is an important milestone in Prof. Wigderson’s impressive and rich career, and we congratulate him on this great honor.”

To make the field of complexity and its connections to computer science theory accessible, Prof. Wigderson wrote a book entitled, “Mathematics and Computing – A Theory Revolutionizing Technology and Science.” The book, published in English by Princeton Publishing, is available for download on the website of the School of Math in the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton.