Cheerful News in Difficult Times: The Abel Prize is Awarded to László Lovász and Avi Wigderson

The Abel Prize was awarded earlier today to László Lovász and Avi Wigderson

“for their foundational contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, and their leading role in shaping them into central fields of modern mathematics.”

Congratulations to Laci and Avi, to their families, and to the communities of theoretical computer science and combinatorics. Let me quote one more sentence from the citation:

“They have both made fundamental contributions to understanding randomness in computation and in exploring the boundaries of efficient computation.”

For the full citation and more material see the Abel Prize page.

Avi and Laci, Oslo 2012. (source, Oberwolfach pictures)

Both Avi and Laci are frequently mentioned over my blog. The post Four derandomization problems is related to both. Here are a few posts on Laci: Posets and the perfect graph theorem; Building bridges II; ICM2010; Laci’s theorem about two families of sets (and subspaces); Building bridges I. On Avi: Fractional Sylvester Gallai; Avifest 1; Layish; Must-read book by Avi Wigderson ;Avi Wigderson’s: “Integrating computational modeling, algorithms, and complexity into theories of nature, marks a new scientific revolution!” (An invitation for a discussion.) There were also two posts on conjectures by Laci that were recently solved (almost completely): The EFL conjecture and the KLS conjecture.

I will not write today about computer science or mathematics but rather I will show you some pictures and give some links. (I will add most of the pictures later today.)

Here is the link to Building bridges II Laci’s 70th birthday conference. There were lectures  by Noga Alon on Lovász, vectors, graphs and codes, by Lex Schrijver  On ϑ and Θ by Jennifer Chayes on Graphons and Graphexes as Limits of Sparse Graphs, by Santosh Vempala With or Without KLS by Avi Wigderson Mathematics and Computation (through the lens of one problem and one algorithm) by Eva Tardos on Small-loss bounds for online learning with partial information and many other inspiring lectures. (I linked here lectures directly related to Laci’s work.)

And here is a link to Avi’s 60th birthday conference: Avi Wigderson Is 60: A Celebration of Mathematics and Computer Science with lectures by Noga Alon on Avi, Graphs, and Communication, by Dorit Aharonov on Quantum Physics and the Computational Lens by Shafi Goldwasser on New Pseudo-deterministic Algorithms, by Nati Linial on Transitions and Phase Transitions by Alex Lubotzky on High Dimensional Expanders, by Laci Lovasz on What is generic? and also by Eyal Wigderson on Brains are Better Computers than Computers and by Einat Wigderson and me on Happy Days, and many other inspiring talks.

(Update 1) Links: NYT (Kenneth Chang), Quanta Magazine (Kevin Hartnett), (and many other places); blogs:  In theory (Finally, a joy), Computational Complexity (Ohh Boy), Shtetl Optimized, Igor Pak. Luca’s post describes very nicely how early results of Laci and Avi interlace. (Update 2) A very nice post on GLL featuring Dorit Aharonov as the post’s “saint patron”, and connections to people and papers of quantum computation.

Trivia questions:

Who are these people? (1,2,3,4,5)



Who is in the picture?

Answers: 1) (Graduating from the Technion) Baruch Schieber, Avi, Oded Goldreich, and David Peleg. 2) (Highschool (?) Lajos Posa, Miklós Laczkovich, Laci, and István Berkes 3) Kati and Laci 4) Noga and Avi (high school) 5) Avi showing in Noga’s birthday conference pictures of him and Noga in their casual dress and of King Harald, Nurit, and Edna.

Another trivia question: In what sense do both Laci’s and Avi’s youngest sons have the same father?  220px-Jacob_fox_(cropped)

Laci himself was a Ph. D. Student of Tibor Gallai and Avi’s Ph D advisor was Dick Lipton.

Now, let me share with you some family pictures.

Avi with his oldest granddaughter Tamar

Laci, Kati and their children 1993

Yuval, Avi, Einat, Edna, Tamar and Eyal


Avi’s parants

Avi with my son Hagai

Me with two recent books written by Lovasz. Top left, the dedication: “to Kati as all my books”.


Laci and Kati

Both Avi’s parents were holocaust’s survivor. On the wall of his study there are pictures of family members who did not survive.

The cover of Avi’s recent book. The book is available freely here !

Intermission: a beautiful bird

More pictures

Above: Laci with the president of Israel, below Avi with the president of Switzerland


Laci with Vera Sós. Vera is Laci’s academic mother in law. Katalin Vesztergombi (Kati) was a Ph.D student of Vera Sós. Laci, Kati, and Vera were part of the early graph limits team from around 2005 in the happy summer days of MSR Redmond.


Laci, Kati, Noga Alon, and Terry Tao


Avi, Edna and Yuval, below Avi and Eyal


Avi Sahar Tamar and Einat


This entry was posted in Combinatorics, Computer Science and Optimization, Convexity, Geometry, Updates and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cheerful News in Difficult Times: The Abel Prize is Awarded to László Lovász and Avi Wigderson

  1. Pingback: 2021 Abel Prize | Igor Pak's blog

  2. Pingback: Congrats Avi and Laci on the Abel Prize | Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP

  3. Pingback: Greatest Hits 2015-2022, Part II | Combinatorics and more

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