Maurice Nivat

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Maurice Nivat
Nivat in 2006
Born (1937-12-21)21 December 1937
Died 21 September 2017(2017-09-21) (aged 79)
Nationality French
Alma mater Joseph Fourier University
Scientific career
Fields Computer science
Institutions University of Paris
Doctoral advisor Marcel-Paul Schützenberger
Doctoral students Bruno Courcelle
Philippe Flajolet
Gérard Huet

Maurice Paul Nivat (21 December 1937 – 21 September 2017) was a French computer scientist. His research spanned the areas of formal languages, programming language semantics, and discrete geometry. A 2006 citation for an honorary doctorate called Nivat one of the fathers of theoretical computer science.[1] He was a Professor at the University Paris Diderot until 2001.

Early life and education[edit]

Nivat was born in Clermont-Ferrand, France. His parents were high-school teachers; his father taught languages while his mother taught mathematics.[2] In 1954, Nivat moved with his family to Paris.[2] Nivat was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure in 1956, but began working at the Blaise Pascal Institute of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, a newly established computing laboratory, in 1959.[1][2] He returned to study mathematics in 1961 under the supervision of Marcel-Paul Schützenberger.[1] His 1967 thesis was entitled Transductions des langages de Chomsky" ("Transductions of Chomsky Languages").


In 1969, Nivat became a professor at Paris Diderot University and taught until 2002.[3] He remained as professor emeritus until his death in 2017.

Nivat was involved in many endeavours in theoretical computer science in Europe: he was one of the founders of the EATCS in 1972 and organized the first ICALP conference in the same year at INRIA (then called IRIA) in Paris. In 1975, he was a founder of the journal Theoretical Computer Science. He was editor-in-chief of the journal for over 25 years.[1]


Since 1983, Nivat was a corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences.[2] Nivat was also an officer of both the Legion d'honneur and the Ordre national du Mérite, and a commander of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in France. Nivat won the EATCS award in 2002. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Bologna in 1997[4] and the University of Quebec at Montreal in 2006.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "L'UQAM remet sept doctorats honoris causa à des personnalités marquantes : Maurice Nivat". 
  2. ^ a b c d Curien, Pierre-Louis (2002). "Une breve biographie scientifique de Maurice Nivat". Theoretical Computer Science. 281: 3–23. doi:10.1016/S0304-3975(02)00004-X. 
  3. ^ Nivat, Maurice (2002). "EATCS Award Acceptance Speech". Bulletin of the European Association of Theoretical Computer Science. 78: 213–220. 
  4. ^ "Laurea Honoris Causa in Computer Science from the University of Bologna to Maurice Nivat and Robin Milner".