Doctor Honoris Causa of ENS de Lyon - June 2, 2012
Leslie Gabriel Valiant FRS (born on March 28, 1949) is a British computer scientist and computational theorist. He is currently the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University.
Valiant was educated at King's College, Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Warwick where he received a PhD in computer science in 1974.
He started teaching at Harvard University in 1982 and is currently the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to 1982 he taught at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Leeds, and the University of Edinburgh.
He is world-renowned for his work in theoretical computer science. Among his many contributions to complexity theory, he introduced the notion of #P-completeness to explain why enumeration and reliability problems are intractable. He also introduced the "probably approximately correct" (PAC) model of machine learning that has helped the field of computational learning theory grow, and the concept of holographic algorithms. In computer systems, he is most well-known for introducing the bulk synchronous parallel processing model. His earlier work in automata theory includes an algorithm for context-free parsing, which is (as of 2010) still the asymptotically fastest known. He also works in computational neuroscience focusing on understanding memory and learning.
Awards and honors
Nevanlinna Prize in 1986
Knuth Prize in 1997
EATCS Award in 2008
ACM Turing Award in 2010
Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1991
Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
Member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)
Probably Approximately Correct: Nature's Algorithms for Learning and Prospering in a Complex World