Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Two MIT professors will be honored by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in June.
Robert G. Gallager, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has won the 1999 Harvey Prize for science and technology from the Technion. He will accept the award June 16 at a ceremony in Haifa. Arnold L. Demain, professor of industrial microbiology in the Department of Biology, will be awarded an honorary doctorate of science from the Technion next month, although he will not be able to travel to Israel to accept the degree until next year.
Professor Demain, a leader in biotechnology for four decades, will be recognized for "outstanding achievements in industrial microbiology and biotechnology and his unique role in promoting cooperation between industry and academia," his citation reads.
Professor Demain has more than 425 publications and 16 US patents to his credit and is co-editor or co-author of 10 books. He has educated numerous Israeli scientists, participated in ongoing research with Israeli laboratories and advised Israeli companies and universities in these fields. A strong supporter of Israel, he has refused to participate in international meetings when Israeli scientists were barred from participating.
Professor Demain holds the BSc (1949) and MSc (1950) from Michigan State University and the PhD (1954) from the University of California.
Professor Gallager was chosen to receive the Technion's Harvey Prize in recognition of his fundamental contributions to information theory and to the theory of communication networks. "His book, Information Theory and Reliable Communication, has been for a number of decades the bible of information theory," his citation reads. "His monograph, Low Density Parity Check Codes, has had a tremendous impact on the theory and practice of coding, and was a precursor to the important recent developments of turbo codes. His work on routing and multiple access network algorithms has revolutionized the theory of computer networking."
Professor Gallager received the BSEE from the University of Pennsylvania in 1953 and the SM and ScD in electrical engineering from MIT in 1957 and 1960. Following short stints at Bell Labs and the US Signal Corps, he has been at MIT since 1956.
The Harvey Prize Council, composed of members of the Technion Senate and the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, considers only world-class figures for the $35,000 prize, which recognizes individuals responsible for breakthroughs in science and technology, human health and peace in the Middle East.
Former recipients of the prize, established for the American Society for the Technion in 1972 by the late Leo Harvey of Los Angeles, include Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Edward Teller and former MIT faculty member Claude Shannon, inventor of information theory and father of modern communication science.
This year's award for human health will go to Elizabeth Blackburn, professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the University of California in San Francisco, for her work on understanding the nature of telomeres.
A version of this article appeared in the May 19, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 31).