First Van Wijngaarden Awards for Lynch and Diaconis

Computer scientist Nancy Lynch and mathematician Persi Diaconis were awarded the first two Van Wijngaarden Awards during the celebration of CWI’s 60th anniversary on 9 February 2006, in Amsterdam. Nancy Lynch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) is famous for her pioneering and leading work in distributed computing. Persi Diaconis (Stanford University) was praised for his deep insights in mathematics combined with a practical mind. He gave a captivating lecture on the statistics of tossing coins. For the occasion, the Dutch Mondriaan Kwartet played the String Quartet no 1 in C Major, composed by an ALGOL 60 computer program at the Mathematisch Centrum in 1968. The Van Wijngaarden Award is named after Aad van Wijngaarden (1916-1987), one of the founding fathers of computer science in The Netherlands and former director of the Mathematisch Centrum (now CWI). It consists of a bronze sculpture and will be presented every five years.

Nancy Lynch Persi Diaconis
Nancy Lynch and Persi Diaconis.

The texts of the laudatios can be found at