Ronald Fagin is an IBM Fellow at IBM Research ? Almaden. IBM Fellow is IBM’s highest technical honor. Fagin received his B.A. in mathematics from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of ACM and AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), and a Life Fellow of IEEE. He has co-authored four papers that won Best Paper Awards and three papers that won Test-of-time Awards, all in major conferences. One of his papers won the Gödel Prize, the top prize for a paper in theoretical computer science. His work on data exchange won the ACM SIGLOG Alonzo Church Award for Outstanding Contributions to Logic and Computation. He was named Docteur Honoris Causa by the University of Paris, and Laurea Honoris Causa by the University of Calabria (the highest honor of the Italian university system) . He won the IEEE Technical Achievement Award (now called the Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award) , IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award (the highest award of the IEEE Computer Society), and ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award (a lifetime achievement award in databases). In addition to the NAS, he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Research Interests

Ronald Fagin's primary interest is in applying mathematical logic to computer science. His Ph.D. thesis created the field of finite model theory. He is best known for "Fagin's Theorem", which gives a surprising connection between how hard it is to solve a problem and how hard it is to express it. He has done much research on "reasoning about knowledge" and is co-author of the key book on the topic. The main area of his research is the theory of databases. He contributed to database design with his introduction of Fourth Normal Form for relational databases, which formalizes the intuition that in a well-designed database schema, unrelated data should not be stored in the same table. He is the co-inventor of acyclic database schemes, and showed that there are a number of desirable properties of database schemas that are all equivalent, and are equivalent to the structure of the tables in the database schema being acyclic in a certain precise sense. He is a co-inventor of extendible hashing, a fast method for data access with a dynamic structure that grows and shrinks gracefully as the database grows and shrinks.
He has created widely used algorithms for accessing and retrieving imprecise, or fuzzy data from multimedia databases. Another of his research areas is data exchange, which deals with how to cope with data in multiple formats, and how to convert from one format to another.

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Primary Section

Section 34: Computer and Information Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 11: Mathematics