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Leslie Gabriel Valiant Edit Profile

university professor , Computer scientist

Leslie Gabriel Valiant, computer scientist, educator. Guggenheim fellow, 1985-1986; recipient Nevanlinna prize International Mathematics Union, 1986, Knuth prize, 1997. Fellow Royal Society, American Association for Artificial Intelligence; member National Academy of Sciences.

Background

Valiant, Leslie Gabriel was born on March 28, 1949. Son of Leslie and Eva Julia (Ujlaki) Valiant.

Education

Bachelor, Kings College, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1970. Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, Imperial College, London, 1973. Doctor of Philosophy, University Warwick, United Kingdom, 1974.

Career

He is currently the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. Valiant 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. 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.

Valiant's 2013 book is : Nature's Algorithms for Learning and Prospering in a Complex World (Basic , ). In it he argues, among other things, that evolutionary biology cannot explain the rate at which evolution occurs, writing, for example, "The evidence for Darwin's general schema for evolution being essentially correct is convincing to the great majority of biologists. This author has been to enough natural history museums to be convinced himself.

All this, however, does not mean the current theory of evolution is adequately explanatory. At present the theory of evolution can offer no account of the rate at which evolution progresses to develop complex mechanisms or to maintain them in changing environments." Valiant 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.

Achievements

  • Valiant received the Nevanlinna Prize in 1986, the Knuth Prize in 1997, the EATCS Award in 2008, and the ACM Turing Award in 2010. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). Valiant's nomination for the Royal Society reads:.

Membership

[Royal Society; National Academy of Sciences]He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

Connections

Married Gayle Lynne Dyckoff, 1977. Children: Paul A., Gregory J.

father:
Leslie Valiant

mother:
Eva Julia (Ujlaki) Valiant

spouse:
Gayle Lynne Dyckoff

child:
Paul A. Valiant

child:
Gregory J. Valiant