Banner Michael and Sheila Held Prize

Banner Michael and Sheila Held Prize

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About the Michael and Sheila Held Prize

The Michael and Sheila Held Prize is presented annually and carries with it a $100,000 prize. The prize honors outstanding, innovative, creative, and influential research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimization, or related parts of computer science, such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory. This $100,000 prize is intended to recognize recent work (defined as published within the last eight years). The prize was established in 2017 by the bequest of Michael and Sheila Held.

Most Recent Recipient

Adam W. Marcus, EPFL, Daniel Alan Spielman, Yale University, and Nikhil Srivastava, University of California, Berkeley, will receive the 2021 Michael and Sheila Held Prize.

Marcus, Spielman, and Srivastava solved longstanding questions on the Kadison-Singer problem and on Ramanujan graphs, and in the process uncovered a deep new connection between linear algebra, geometry of polynomials, and graph theory that has inspired the next generation of theoretical computer scientists. Their groundbreaking papers on these questions, both published in 2015, solved problems that mathematicians had been working on for several decades. Read more about their work» 


Adam W. Marcus, Daniel Alan Spielman, and Nikhil Srivastava (2021)
For their breakthrough works on the Kadison-Singer problem and on Ramanujan graphs, and the underlying theory that leads to new connections between computer science, mathematics and physics.
Read more about their work» 

Julia Chuzhoy (2020)
For her foundational research on algorithms for routing in networks and finding disjoint paths in graphs, which has introduced powerful new techniques and resolved deep open questions in both discrete optimization and in the structure of graphs.
Read more about Chuzhoy's work» 
Watch Chuzhoy's acceptance speech»

Ola Svensson (2019)
For breakthroughs in combinatorial optimization and graph-theoretic algorithms culminating in the first constant factor approximation algorithm for the asymmetric traveling salesman problem.
Read more about Svensson's work» 
Watch Svensson's acceptance speech»

Prasad Raghavendra and David Steurer (2018)
For a body of work which revolutionizes our understanding of optimization and complexity. It better explains the exact limits to efficient approximation of NP-hard problems. It provides better understanding of the computational assumptions underlying hardness of approximation. And it develops a structure theory of linear and semi-definite programming and their hierarchies, which leads to new algorithms and new lower bounds.
Read more about their work»
Watch their acceptance speech»
Press release»

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