Peter Shor

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Peter Shor
Born (1959-08-14) August 14, 1959 (age 59)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materCaltech
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forShor's algorithm
AwardsPutnam Fellow (1978)[1]
Nevanlinna Prize (1998)[2]
MacArthur Fellowship (July 1999)[3]
Gödel Prize (1999)[4]
King Faisal International Prize (2002)[5]
ICS Prize (2007)[6]
Dirac Medal (2017) of ICTP [7]
IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award (2018) [8]
Scientific career
FieldsComputer scientist
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Bell Labs
University of California, Berkeley
ThesisRandom planar matching and bin packing (1985)
Doctoral advisorTom Leighton

Peter Williston Shor (born August 14, 1959) is an American professor of applied mathematics at MIT. He is known for his work on quantum computation, in particular for devising Shor's algorithm, a quantum algorithm for factoring exponentially faster than the best currently-known algorithm running on a classical computer.


While attending Tamalpais High School, in Mill Valley, California, he placed third in the 1977 USA Mathematical Olympiad.[9] After graduating that year, he won a silver medal at the International Math Olympiad in Yugoslavia (the U.S. team achieved the most points per country that year).[10][11] He received his B.S. in Mathematics in 1981 for undergraduate work at Caltech,[12] and was a Putnam Fellow in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from MIT in 1985.[13] His doctoral advisor was F. Thomson Leighton, and his thesis was on probabilistic analysis of bin-packing algorithms.


After graduating, he spent one year in a post-doctoral position at the University of California at Berkeley, and then accepted a position at Bell Laboratories. It was there he developed Shor's algorithm, for which he was awarded the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize at the 23rd International Congress of Mathematicians in 1998 and the Gödel Prize in 1999. In 2017 he received the Dirac Medal of the ICTP.

Shor began his MIT position in 2003. Currently the Henry Adams Morss and Henry Adams Morss, Jr. Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at MIT, he also is affiliated with CSAIL and the Center for Theoretical Physics (CTP).

He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Caltech in 2007.[12]

On October 1, 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Mathematical Association of America's William Lowell Putnam Competition". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  2. ^ "Fields Medalists / Nevanlinna Price (sic) Winner 1998". International Mathematical Union. 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  3. ^ "Fellows List - July 1999". John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Archived from the original on 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  4. ^ Parberry, Ian (1999-05-10). "1999 Gödel Prize". ACM SIGACT. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  5. ^ "2002 King Faisal International Prizes for Science Announced". King Faisal Foundation.
  6. ^ "ICS Prize". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06.
  7. ^ Dirac Medal of ICTP 2017
  8. ^ List of IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award Recipients
  9. ^ Murray Klamkin (Editor). Mathematical Association of America (January 1989). USA Mathematical Olympiads 1972-1986 Problems and Solutions (Anneli Lax New Mathematical Library), ISBN 0-88385-634-4 ISBN 978-0-88385-634-5, accessed May 10, 2007
  10. ^ Mill Valley Historical Society, 2004, 'History of Homestead Valley' Archived 2006-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Stephen R. Dunbar, 'Identifying Talent: American Mathematics Competitions,' in Mathematical Association of America, Focus, Vol 24, Issue 3, March 2004, p 29
  12. ^ a b "2007 Recipients". Distinguished Alumni Award. Caltech Alumni Association. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  13. ^ Shor, Peter Williston (September 1985). Random Planar Matching and Bin Packing (Ph.D. thesis). MIT. OCLC 14107348.
  14. ^ Academy Members: 1780-present (PDF). Cambridge, Massachusetts: American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 2011. p. 502.
  15. ^ "2011 Members and Their Affiliations" (PDF). American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 17 October 2011.

External links[edit]

Lectures and panels