Rice’s Moshe Vardi has been awarded the 2021 Donald E. Knuth Prize, one of theoretical computer science’s most prestigious annual awards and the 2020 ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award which he shares with Hector Levesque of the University of Toronto.
The Knuth Prize includes a $10,000 award and is given annually to one person for major research accomplishments and contributions to the foundations of computer science over an extended period of time. Vardi, University Professor and the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering, was honored for “high-impact, seminal contributions to the foundations of computer science.” Vardi is also a faculty scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy and the leader of Rice’s initiative on Technology, Culture and Society.
The ACM - AAAI Allen Newell Award is presented to an individual selected for career contributions that have breadth within computer science, or that bridge computer science and other disciplines. In the award announcement, Vardi is described as “perhaps the most influential researcher working at the interface of logic and computer science, building bridges between communities in computer science and beyond.”
Chris Jermaine, Chair of Rice’s Department of Computer Science, explains that “The Allen Newell Award rewards those whose research career shows breadth—the researcher should have had contributions or impact across or beyond computer science. The award fits Moshe perfectly. I’m a database researcher and the database research community regards Moshe as one of its own. He’s got one of the classic papers in the database field, ‘The complexity of relational query languages.’ But people in artificial intelligence, formal methods, and logic feel the same way about Moshe. I met a philosopher from one of the world's top universities who knew I was from Rice and asked, ‘Do you know Moshe Vardi?’ To each of those areas, Moshe's one of them, and has made fundamental contributions."