Les Valiant, the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been recognized for his work in machine learning and the theory of computation with the 2010 ACM A.M. Turing Award. The Award, which comes with a $250,000 prize, is supported in part by Intel and Google, and is considered the top prize in computing. It is named for the British mathematician Alan Turing, who was instrumental in the early development of modern computing.
Over his career, Dr. Valiant has made notable contributions to several parts of computer science theory. His 1984 paper, “A Theory of the Learnable” helped establish the foundation of computer learning theory. Valiant developed the concept of complexity of enumeration and a theory of algebraic computation. His work in parallel and distributed computing theory is also notable, advanced new models, strategies and algorithms that moved the field forward.