Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
The Jon A. Bucsela Prize, which recognizes distinguished scholastic achievement, professional promise and enthusiasm for mathematics, was awarded to David Y. Jao, a senior from San Rafael, CA. The Bucsela Prize was created as a memorial by the parents of Mr. Bucsela, a member of the Class of 1984 from Atlanta who died as a result of congenital heart problems during his senior year.
Three graduate students received the Housman Graduate Student Teaching Award given for demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication to teaching. These awards are supported by the Charles L. and Holly Housman Fund. The recipients are David E. Amundsen from Vancouver, Canada; Dimitri-Kountourogiannis from Montreal, Canada; and Monica A. Nevins from Ottawa, Canada.
The Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Prize, given for an outstanding research paper accepted in a major journal by a graduate student in mathematics, has been awarded to two students. Alessandro D'Andrea, a graduate student from Scafa, Italy, received the prize for a paper he co-authored with Victor Kac entitled "Structure Theory of Finite Conformal Algebras." The paper will appear in Selecta Mathematica.
The second winner of the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Prize is Salil P. Vadhan, a graduate student from Flushing, NY, for a paper he wrote jointly with Amit Sahai entitled "A Complete Promise Problem for Statistical Zero-Knowledge" listed in the Proceedings of the 38th Annual Symposium on the Foundations of Computer Science (October 20-22, 1997). The prize was established by the support of Charles (BE '55) and Jennifer Johnson.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 3, 1998.