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Erik D. Demaine Edit Profile

Mathematician , university professor , Computer scientist

Erik D. Demaine, Canadian computer scientist, educator. Named one of Brilliant 10, Popular Science magazine, 2003; recipient Early Career Principal Investigator award, Department Energy, 2004, CAREER award, National Science Foundation, 2004; fellow MacArthur Foundation, 2003; grantee Alfred P. Sloan Research fellowship, since 2006.


Demaine was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the artist sculptor Martin L. Demaine and Judy Anderson. Demaine was a child prodigy. At age 7, he spent time traveling North America with his father, and he was home-schooled until entering college at the age of 12.


Demaine studied at Dalhousie University in Canada, completed his bachelor's degree at 14 years old, and completed his PhD at University of Waterloo when he was 20 years old. Demaine's PhD dissertation, a seminal work in the field of computational origami, was completed at the University of Waterloo.


This work was awarded the Canadian Governor General's Gold Medal from the University of Waterloo and the NSERC Doctoral Prize (2003) for the best PhD thesis and research in Canada (one of four awards). This thesis work was largely incorporated into a book. Demaine joined the MIT faculty in 2001 at age 20, reportedly the youngest professor in the history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was promoted to full professor in 2011.

Mathematical origami artwork by Erik and Martin Demaine was part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in 2008, and has been included in the MoMA permanent collection. That same year, he was one of the featured artists in Between the Folds, an international documentary film about origami practitioners which was later broadcast on PBS television.


  • In 2003 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called "genius award". In 2013, Demaine received the EATCS Presburger Award for young scientists. The award citation listed accomplishments including his work on the carpenter's rule problem, hinged dissection, prefix sum data structures, competitive analysis of binary search trees, graph minors, and computational origami. That same year, he was awarded a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. With his co-authors Fedor Fomin, Mohammad T. Hajiaghayi, and Dimitrios Thilikos, he won the 2015 Nerode Prize for his work on bidimensionality, a general technique for developing both fixed-parameter tractable exact algorithms and approximation algorithms for a wide class of algorithmic problems on graphs.


  • Other Work

    • Contributor articles to professional journals, chapters to books., co-editor 2 books.


Member of Society Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Mathematics Association American, Canada Mathematics Society, American Mathematics Society, Association Computing Machinery Special Interest Grp. on Algorithms and Computation Theory, Association Computing Machinery.


  • Other Interests

    Glass blowing, oragami, juggling, magic, painting.