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IT mathematician Laszlo Lovasv bags Kyoto award

Posted: 15 Nov 2010  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Algorithm  Laszlo Lovasz  Kyoto Prize  graph theory  networks 

The 2010 Kyoto Prize has been awarded to Algorithm pioneer Laszlo Lovasz, whose mathematical methods have enabled many breakthroughs in information technology, including RSA encryption to 4G channel capacity. The award comes with $550,000 and is considered on par with the Nobel Prize in international stature.

Awards were also given to Japan physician Shinya Yamanaka for his discovery that skin-cells can be substituted for those obtained from embryos; and South African artist William Kentridge for his invention of the now widespread animation technology called "drawings in motion."

Born in Hungary, Lovasz has solved several long-standing IT problems using graph theory. He is said to have first used graph theory to extend the point-to-point IT of Claude Shannon--the first recipient of the Kyoto Prize in 1985--for the tower-hopping era of modern cellular radio communications. Lovasz has served as a senior scientist at Microsoft Research, but is currently a professor at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, where he is using graph theory to pioneer a new approach to the management of very large networks.

"Graph theory represents a different approach to optimization problems that uses geometry to compute results instead of differential equations," said Lovasz. "It turns out that very large networks in many different fields can be described by graphs, from cyptography to physical systems. The ellipsoid method, for instance, is particularly well suited for solving modern problems in circuit theory and networking."

Laszlo Lovasz receives the Kyoto Prize, which includes $550,000 cash plus recognition for technological achievement on par with Nobel Prize.

One of Lovasz's most far-reaching mathematical discoveries was how to use graph theory to place an upper bound on an information channel's "Shannon capacity,"called its "Lovasz number." Lovasz also solved the "weak perfect graph conjecture"�a long-standing problem in graph theory�using a unique new paradigm that expresses discrete values by systems of linear inequalities.

Lovasz is perhaps most well known for the breakthrough principles called the "Lovasz local lemma" and the "LLL-algorithm," which are widely used today in cryptography as well as for the MIMO wireless communications scheme used by WiFi, 4G, WiMAX and LTE.

The Kyoto Prize was founded by Kyocera chairman Kazuo Inamori in 1984 and began bestowing prizes in 1985�the year that Claude Shannon received the first prize. It is now administrated by the independent nonprofit Inamori Foundation with assets of over $900 million.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times





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