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.
Vitányi was appointed Professor of Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam, and researcher at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands (CWI) where he is currently a CWI Fellow. He was Guest Professor at the University of Copenhagen in 1978; Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985/1986; Gaikoku-Jin Kenkyuin (Councellor Professor) at INCOCSAT at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1998; Visiting Professor at Monash University in 1996 and at the National ICT of Australia NICTA at University of New South Wales in 2004/2005; and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo from 2005.
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 Information; the SN Computer Science; the Journal of Computer and Systems Sciences (guest editor), and elsewhere.
Awards & honours
- 1999 – National Outstanding Scientific and Technological Book Award of the People's Republic of China
- 2003 – CWI Fellow
- 2003 – Bronze Medal University of Helsinki
- 2005 – Adjunct Professor Computer Science University of Waterloo
- 2007 – knighthood in the Order of the Netherlands Lion,
- 2007 – International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Silver Core Award
- 2011 – Member of the Academia Europaea.
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.
Together with Ming Li he pioneered theory and applications of Kolmogorov complexity. They co-authored the textbook An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications, 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).
- Paul Michael Béla Vitányi at the Mathematics Genealogy Project.
- "Paul Vitányi ontvangt koninklijke onderscheiding". Computable. VNU Media. 10 September 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Royal Honour for Paul Vitányi
- Academia Europaea
- Computer science papers DBLP
- Google scholar
- MathSciNet Mathematical Reviews
- M. Li, P. M. B. Vitányi, "Applications of Algorithmic Information Theory", Scholarpedia, 2(5):2658; 2007
- M. Li and P. M. B.Vitányi, An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and its Applications, Springer, New York, 1993 (1st Ed.), 1997 (2nd ed.), 2008 (3rd ed.)