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A researcher in computer science, he has produced a number of fundamental results many of which are being widely used in the field of theoretical computer science, database processing and compiler optimization. In 1987 he achieved the rank of IBM Fellow at Almaden IBM Research Center in San Jose, California. IBM Fellow is the highest honor a scientist, engineer, or programmer at IBM can achieve. He has taught at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and at Princeton University in the U.S. Before joining the faculty at Princeton, he worked for the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (now the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory), IBM Research, and the University of British Columbia. In the Fall of 2006 he joined the faculty of Harvey Mudd College. He holds a B.S. degree in Natural Sciences from Shimer College in Chicago, Illinois (1965) and a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1967, 1969 and 1974 respectively. His research interests center in theoretical computer science, but also extend into communication theory and mathematics. The complexity class, (named Nick's Class (NC) by Stephen Cook), is a class of problems quickly solvable on a parallel computer. It was so named for his research on circuits with polylogarithmic depth and polynomial size. He along with Ronald Fagin, Jurg Nievergelt and Ray Strong invented extendible hashing, a database access technique in which the user is guaranteed no more than two page faults to locate the data associated with a given unique identifier, or key. Unlike conventional hashing, extendible hashing has a dynamic structure that grows and shrinks gracefully as the database grows and shrinks. Because it combines the speed of hashing with adaptable dynamic behavior, and because it is easy to understand and to program, extendible hashing is now widely studied and widely implemented. In addition to his title of IBM Fellow, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science), a 1997 Fellow of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). He is also a member of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) becoming a Fellow in 2012; the MAA (Mathematical Association of America) and SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics). He is the author of “Theories of Computability”, published by Cambridge University Press in 1997. He became one of the most recent mathematicians to write a technical article in Latin, when he published a brief derivation of a new formula for “e” an important mathematical constant that is the base of the natural logarithm. He is married to Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College.
Noted For:Co-inventor of extendible hashing, a database access technique which has a dynamic structure that grows and shrinks gracefully as the database grows and shrinks
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