By Carlyn Chatfield
Renowned Rice University computer scientist, mathematician and University Professor Moshe Vardi is on a roll, garnering four prestigious awards in automata theory and automated reasoning within the past four weeks.
On June 14, he accepted the 2023 Salomaa Prize for fundamental achievements in automata theory and formal languages theory in Umeå, Sweden. Named for Finnish automata-theory pioneer Arto Salomaa, the award was presented at the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science’s annual Developments in Language Theory conference (DLT 2023) and included a prize of 2,000 euros.
“The Salomaa prize is particularly meaningful to me because Arto is one of the founding figures in automata theory,” Vardi said.
In early July, Vardi traveled to Rome to accept two more annual prizes – the Herbrand Award and the Thoralf Skolem Award – at the 29th Conference on Automated Deduction (CADE-29).
Named in honor of French mathematician Jacques Herbrand, the Herbrand Award recognizes exceptional contributions to the field of automated deduction and includes a $1,000 prize and the opportunity to present an acceptance speech at CADE. “This is the top award in automated reasoning,” Vardi said, “which is the main theme of my research.”
The Thoralf Skolem Award was a joint recognition of the lasting influence of a paper Vardi and co-authors presented at CADE in 2002. Given annually since 2015, the award recognizes the ‘most influential’ paper presented at CADE two decades prior. Vardi, Orna Kupferman and Ulrike Sattler were recognized for “The Complexity of the Graded µ-Calculus,” which was published in the CADE-15 proceedings of 2002.
Kupferman was Vardi’s first doctoral student and has authored 75 papers with Vardi, making her his most frequent collaborator. Ulrike was his first postdoctoral student.
Another co-authored paper, “An Automata-Theoretic Approach to Automatic Program Verification,” prompted Vardi’s fourth award of the summer, the 2023 IEEE/ACM Richard A. Newton Technical Impact Award in Electronic Design Automation, which was presented July 11 at the 60th Design Automation Conference in San Francisco and included a included a $1,500 prize. Sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Design Automation and the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation, the award honored Vardi and Pierre Wolper for a paper they co-authored in the proceedings of the 1st Symposium on Logic in Computer Science in 1986.
Vardi joined Rice’s faculty in 1993 and teaches “Logic in Computer Science.” He is a University Professor, the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering in Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering, a faculty scholar in science and technology policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the leader of Rice’s Initiative on Technology, Culture and Society.
– Carlyn Chatfield is a contributing writer for Rice University’s Department of Computer Science.