László Babai

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László Babai
Laszlo Babai.jpg
Born (1950-07-20) July 20, 1950 (age 64)
Nationality Hungarian
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Chicago
Alma mater Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Doctoral advisor Pál Turán
Vera T. Sós
Doctoral students Péter Hajnal
Lajos Rónyai
José Soares
Mario Szegedy
Gábor Tardos
Notable awards Gödel Prize (1993)
Knuth Prize (2015)

László (Laci) Babai (born July 20, 1950 in Budapest)[1] is a Hungarian professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on computational complexity theory, algorithms, combinatorics, and finite groups, with an emphasis on the interactions between these fields. He is the author of over 180 academic papers.[1]

His notable accomplishments include the introduction of interactive proof systems,[2] the introduction of the term Las Vegas algorithm,[3] and the introduction of group theoretic methods in graph isomorphism testing.[3]

Babai studied mathematics at Eötvös Loránd University from 1968 to 1973, received a Ph.D. from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1975, and received a D.Sc. from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1984.[1][4] He held a teaching position at Eötvös Loránd University since 1971; in 1987 he took joint positions as a professor in algebra Eötvös Loránd and in computer science at the University of Chicago. In 1995 he began a joint appointment in the mathematics department at Chicago and gave up his position at Eötvös Loránd.[1]

He is editor-in-chief of the refereed online journal Theory of Computing.[5] Babai was also involved in the creation of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program and first coined the name.


In 1988, Babai won the Hungarian State Prize, in 1990 he was elected as a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and in 1994 he became a full member.[1] In 1999 the Budapest University of Technology and Economics awarded him an honorary doctorate.[1]

In 1993, Babai was awarded the Gödel Prize together with Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, Shlomo Moran, and Charles Rackoff, for their papers on interactive proof systems.[6]

In 2005, the University of Chicago gave him the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.[7]

In 2015, he was elected[8] a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and won the Knuth prize.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Curriculum vitae from Babai's web site, retrieved 2010-07-30.
  2. ^ Babai, László; Moran, Shlomo (1988), "Arthur-Merlin games: a randomized proof system, and a hierarchy of complexity class", J. Comput. Syst. Sci. 36 (2): 254–276, doi:10.1016/0022-0000(88)90028-1 .
  3. ^ a b Babai, László (1979), Monte-Carlo algorithms in graph isomorphism testing (PDF), Tech. Report, Université de Montréal .
  4. ^ László Babai at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ Theory of Computing editors, retrieved 2010-07-30.
  6. ^ 1993 Gödel Prize, ACM SIGACT, retrieved 2010-08-14.
  7. ^ Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (June 2005).
  8. ^ [1]

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