In Pursuit of Simplicity

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A symposium honoring Professor Edsger Wybe Dijkstra, Schlumberger Centennial Chair in Computer Sciences and Professor of Mathematics, was held May 12-13, 2000, on the event of his recent retirement. His colleagues assembled an exciting two-day symposium attended by internationally known computer scientists. The symposium was held in Taylor Hall on the UT campus and ended with a farewell address by Dijkstra.

Dijkstra received his Candidaats Examen, Mathematics and Physics (1951), Doctoraal Examen, Theoretical Physics (1956) from the University of Leyden, and his Ph.D. (1959) from the University of Amsterdam.

Among his many honors and awards are:

  • ACM Turing Award, 1972
  • Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Distinguished Fellow, British Computer Society
  • AFIPS Harry Goode Memorial Award
  • Doctor of Science Honoris Causa, The Queen's University of Belfast
  • Edsger W. Dijkstra Scholarship established at Eindhoven University of Technology, 1993-1994

He is among the greats in theoretical computer science; and he often finds the answer before others are aware of the problem. He is probably most widely known for his solution to the shortest path in graphs problem (1956). His algorithm is still in use today--routing communication networks, flight planning, or any project that needs to know the fastest way between two points.

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