Christos Papadimitriou, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Christos Papadimitriou is the Donovan Family Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. Before coming to Columbia, he taught at UC Berkeley for 22 years and before that at Harvard, MIT, National Technical University of Athens, Stanford and UCSD. His work is about understanding mathematically the nature and limitations of computation and using computation as a lens for making progress in scientific problems in fields such as control theory, economics and game theory, evolution and neuroscience. His current work is on creating simplified neuromorphic computational models that while adhering to the basic tenets of neuroscience — in particular, devoid of backpropagation — can emulate cognitive phenomena, most notably and recently language acquisition. He also works on fathoming the power and limitations of the current decade’s learning machines.

Papadimitriou received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Athens Polytechnic in Greece and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and honorary doctorates from nine universities, including ETH, EPFL and the universities of Athens, Cyprus and Paris Dauphine. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has received the Donald E. Knuth Prize, the Gödel Prize, the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, the IEEE Computer Society Women of ENIAC Computer Pioneer Award, the John von Neumann Theory Prize, the IEEE SC Charles Babbage Award and the Harvey Prize from Technion. In 2015 the president of the Hellenic Republic named him commander of the order of the Phoenix. He has also written three novels, including a New York Times bestseller.

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