The EATCS Award 2010

Laudatio for Kurt Mehlhorn

The EATCS Award is awarded annually to honor a scientist with widely recognized contributions to the field of theoretical computer science throughout a distinguished scientific career. The Committee, consisting of Emo Welzl (Chair),
Pavlos Spirakis and Eugenio Moggi in charge of evaluating the nominations to the 2010 EATCS Award has come to the decision to honor

Professor Kurt Mehlhorn

with the EATCS Award 2010 for his decisive influence on the developments of nalgorithms, and, more generally, of computer science as a whole in many ways.The decision has been unanimously approved by the EATCS Council. The Award
will be assigned during a ceremony that will take place in Bordeaux (France) during ICALP 2010 (July 5-12, 2010).

Most remarkable are Kurt Mehlhorn’s fundamental contributions to a wealth of algorithmic topics: Data structures, computational geometry, geometric computing and computer algebra, parallel computing, VLSI-design, complexity theory,
combinatorial optimization, and graph algorithms.

One outstanding contribution is his shaping of the field of algorithm engineering, most prominently represented by LEDA, the Library of Efficient Data Types and Algorithms, which was initiated and originally written by Kurt Mehlhorn and Stefan Näher. The LEDA book is a shining example of theory meets practice with its interweaving of theoretical analysis and careful software engineering. Besides efficiency, the library impresses by the treatment of correctness, let it be in the direction of robust, consistent and at the same time efficient geometric computation or in the direction of the employment of certificates which allow checking of results independent of the correctness of algorithms and their implementation.
Nowadays LEDA is used extensively both in academia and industry and it has stimulated the development of numerous other more specialized libraries for combinatorial algorithms.

Equally impressive to its scientific contributions is his service to the computer science community. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Research Center for Computer Science Schloss Dagstuhl, both indispensable hubs for the exchange of ideas in computer science. He is also an initiator for ESA, the European Symposium on Algorithms and for a series of European projects (ALCOM, CGAL) integrating European algorithm research.

Kurt Mehlhorn is a dedicated teacher. His talks are excellent examples of clarity. He has written several books, including a three volume EATCS Monograph on Data Structures and Algorithms, which has been a prime source for students and researchers in the field for many years. An impressive list of his PhD students have by now become prominent scientists.

His dedication to science and education has made him a role model for colleagues and young scientists. Kurt Mehlhorn clearly deserves this distinction which we are both happy and proud to award to him.

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