Richard Edwin Stearns (born July 5, 1936) is a prominent computer scientist who, with Juris Hartmanis, received the 1993 ACM Turing Award "in recognition of their seminal paper which established the foundations for the field of computational complexity theory" (Hartmanis and Stearns, 1965). In 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.
Stearns earned his PhD from Princeton University in 1961. His PhD thesis adviser was Harold W. Kuhn. Stearns is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the University at Albany, which is part of the State University of New York.
- Stearns, R.E.; Hartmanis, J. (March 1963), "Regularity preserving modifications of regular expressions", Information and Control 6 (1): 55–69, doi:10.1016/S0019-9958(63)90110-4. A first systematic study of language operations that preserve regular languages.
- Hartmanis, J.; Stearns, R. E. (May 1965), "On the computational complexity of algorithms", Transactions of the American Mathematical Society (American Mathematical Society) 117: 285–306, JSTOR 1994208, MR 0170805. Contains the time hierarchy theorem, one of the theorems that shaped the field of computational complexity theory.
- Stearns, R.E. (September 1967), "A Regularity Test for Pushdown Machines", Information and Control 11 (3): 323–340, doi:10.1016/S0019-9958(67)90591-8. Answers a basic question about deterministic pushdown automata: it is decidable whether a given deterministic pushdown automaton accepts a regular language.
- Lewis II, P.M.; Stearns, R.E. (1968), "Syntax-Directed Transduction", Journal of the ACM 15 (3): 465–488, doi:10.1145/321466.321477. Introduces LL parsers, which play an important role in compiler design.
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