Paul Vitányi

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Paul Michael Béla Vitányi
Paul Vitanyi 2005.jpg
Paul M. B. Vitányi 2005
Born (1944-07-21) 21 July 1944 (age 73)
Nationality Dutch
Alma mater Free University of Amsterdam
Known for Simplicity theory
Kolmogorov complexity
Normalized Compression Distance
Normalized Google Distance
Information Distance
Incompressibility Method
Shared register
Kolmogorov structure function
Reversible computing
Scientific career
Fields Computer science
Doctoral advisor Jaco de Bakker
Arto Salomaa
Doctoral students Ronald Cramer[1]
John Tromp
Jaap-Henk Hoepman
Peter Gruenwald
Barbara Terhal
Ronald de Wolf
Wim van Dam
Hein Roehrig
Rudi Cilibrasi
Steven de Rooij
Wouter Koolen-Wijkstra

Paul Michael Béla Vitányi (born 21 July 1944) is a Dutch computer scientist, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam and researcher at the Dutch Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica.


Vitányi was born in Budapest from a Dutch mother and a Hungarian father. He received his degree of mathematical engineer from Delft University of Technology in 1971 and his Ph.D. from the Free University of Amsterdam in 1978.[1]

Vitányi was appointed Professor of Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam, and worked as researcher at the Dutch Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica where he is a CWI Fellow.

Vitányi has served on the editorial boards of Distributed Computing (1987–2003), Information Processing Letters; the Theory of Computing Systems; the Parallel Processing Letters; the International journal of Foundations of Computer Science; the Entropy; the Journal of Computer and Systems Sciences (guest editor), and elsewhere.

He received a knighthood in the Order of the Netherlands Lion,[2][3] and is a member of the Academia Europaea.[4]


Vitányi has worked on cellular automata, computational complexity, distributed and parallel computing, machine learning and prediction, physics of computation, Kolmogorov complexity, information theory and quantum computing, publishing over 200 research papers and some books.[5][6][7]

Together with Ming Li he pioneered theory and applications of Kolmogorov complexity.[8] They co-authored the textbook An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications,[9] parts of which have been translated into Chinese, Russian and Japanese. The Chinese translation received the National Outstanding Scientific and Technological Book Award of the People's Republic of China (1999).


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