Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How to increase your odds of winning the Turing Award

Consider working in some area related to the broad theme of correctness:
formal verification of software/hardware, model-checking, program correctness, program specifications, etc. I can count 8-10 Turing awards in these fields (algorithms/complexity is up there as well, though not in recent years).

The 2008 (or is it 2007?) A. M. Turing award recipients have been announced -- Ed Clarke, E Allen Emerson, and Joseph Sifakis have received the award "[f]or [their] role in developing Model-Checking into a highly effective verification technology, widely adopted in the hardware and software industries."

Congratulations to the winners!

It is clear that the theme of correctness of programs and hardware, etc., is fundamentally important to the evolution of CS into a sound scientific discipline. However, an outsider to these fields (I should know - my programs and theorems have bugs more often than I'd like), I must complain that I find it hard-pressed to find examples of work by these Turing award winners that have made it to the "mainstream" (say, a typical Masters or a strong undergraduate program in CS). This is the opposite of the situation in algorithms/complexity (despite some counterexamples like Yao's work on pseudo-randomness).

1 comment:

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

Aha well someone had to try and come up with a formula for success.

Anyway I think the trend in the next 10 years will be different. Any guesses as to what will be the next big area for Turing awardees?