Walter Savitch

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Walter John Savitch
Born(1943-02-21)February 21, 1943
DiedFebruary 1, 2021(2021-02-01) (aged 77)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Known forSavitch's theorem, NL
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsUniversity of California, San Diego
ThesisNondeterministic Tape Bounded Turing Machines[1] (1969)
Doctoral advisorStephen Cook

Walter John Savitch (February 21, 1943 – February 1, 2021)[2] was best known for defining the complexity class NL (nondeterministic logarithmic space), and for Savitch's theorem, which defines a relationship between the NSPACE and DSPACE complexity classes. His work in establishing complexity classes has helped to create the background against which non-deterministic and probabilistic reasoning can be performed.

He also did extensive work in the field of natural language processing and mathematical linguistics. He was focused on computational complexity as it applies to genetics and biology for over 10 years.

Aside from his work in theoretical computer science, Savitch wrote a number of textbooks for learning to program in C/C++, Java, Ada, Pascal and others.

Savitch received his PhD in mathematics from University of California, Berkeley in 1969 under the supervision of Stephen Cook. Since then he was a professor at University of California, San Diego in the computer science department.


  1. ^ Walter Savitch at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "In Memoriam: Walter Savitch, Professor Emeritus in Computer Science and Engineering". February 23, 2021. Retrieved March 1, 2021.

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