Herbert Wilf

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Herbert Saul Wilf
Herbert Wilf.jpg
BornJune 13, 1931
DiedJanuary 7, 2012(2012-01-07) (aged 80)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materColumbia University
MIT
Known forCombinatorics
AwardsLeroy P. Steele Prize (1998)
Euler Medal (2002)
Scientific career
FieldsMathematician
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania
Doctoral advisorHerbert Ellis Robbins
Doctoral studentsFan Chung
Richard Garfield
Rodica Simion
E. Roy Weintraub
Michael Wertheimer

Herbert Saul Wilf (June 13, 1931 – January 7, 2012) was a mathematician, specializing in combinatorics and graph theory. He was the Thomas A. Scott Professor of Mathematics in Combinatorial Analysis and Computing at the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote numerous books and research papers. Together with Neil Calkin he founded The Electronic Journal of Combinatorics in 1994 and was its editor-in-chief until 2001.

Biography[edit]

Wilf was the author of numerous papers and books, and was adviser and mentor to many students and colleagues. His collaborators include Doron Zeilberger and Donald Knuth. One of Wilf's former students is Richard Garfield, the creator of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. He also served as a thesis advisor for E. Roy Weintraub in the late 1960s.

Wilf died of a progressive neuromuscular disease in 2012.[1]

Awards[edit]

In 1998, Wilf and Zeilberger received the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research for their joint paper, "Rational functions certify combinatorial identities" (Journal of the American Mathematical Society, 3 (1990) 147–158). The prize citation reads: "New mathematical ideas can have an impact on experts in a field, on people outside the field, and on how the field develops after the idea has been introduced. The remarkably simple idea of the work of Wilf and Zeilberger has already changed a part of mathematics for the experts, for the high-level users outside the area, and the area itself." Their work has been translated into computer packages that have simplified hypergeometric summation.

In 2002, Wilf was awarded the Euler Medal by the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications.

Selected publications[edit]

  • "Perron-Frobenius theory and the zeroes of polynomials". Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 12: 247–250. 1961. doi:10.1090/s0002-9939-1961-0120352-5. MR 0120352.
  • "The argument of an entire function". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 67: 488–489. 1961. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1961-10649-6. MR 0131549.
  • "The Possibility of Tschebycheff Quadrature on Infinite Intervals". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 47 (2): 209–213. February 1961. doi:10.1073/pnas.47.2.209. PMC 221658. PMID 16590820.
  • 1968: (with G. Szekeres) "An inequality for the chromatic number of a graph", Journal of Combinatorial Theory
  • 1971: (editor with Frank Harary) Mathematical Aspects of Electrical Networks Analysis, SIAM-AMS Proceedings, Volume 3,American Mathematical Society MR0329788
  • 1998: (with N. J. Calkin) "The Number of Independent Sets in a Grid Graph", SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics

Books[edit]

Lecture notes[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In Memoriam: Herbert S. Wilf". Math.upenn.edu. 1931-06-13. Archived from the original on 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  2. ^ Hayman, W. K. (1991). "Review: Generatingfunctionology, by H. S. Wilf". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 25 (1): 104–106. doi:10.1090/s0273-0979-1991-16036-2.

External links[edit]