Jeffrey Shallit elected to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters

Friday, September 18, 2020

Cheriton School of Computer Science Professor Jeffrey Shallit is one of five foreign members elected to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters for 2020.

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters is a broad-based learned society with the principal aim of promoting scientific research and acting as a bond between those engaged in advanced research. Members of the Academy are at the top of their profession, and being invited as a member constitutes a distinguished achievement in a scientist’s career.

photo of Professor Jeffrey Shallit

Professor Shallit is an accomplished computer scientist interested in the interplay between number theory, algebra, logic, discrete mathematics, and the theory of computation. Most of his research focuses on combinatorics on words and automata theory, especially on decision procedures.

Professor Shallit’s books, journal and conference papers have been cited more than 8,500 times. Collectively, his research contributions have an h-index of 39 on Google Scholar.

With his colleague Jean-Paul Allouche, Director of Research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, he coauthored Automatic Sequences: Theory, Applications, Generalizations. This noted text covers sequences generated by finite automata and their generalizations, with applications to number theory and theoretical physics. Published in 2003 by Cambridge University Press, Automatic Sequences has been cited almost 1,500 times. With Eric Bach, he coauthored Algorithmic Number Theory: Efficient Algorithms, a book that provides a thorough introduction to the design and analysis of algorithms for problems from the theory of numbers. Cited almost 1,000 times to date, this foundational book in computing was published in 1997 by MIT Press. He is also one of four authors of Neverending Fractions: An Introduction to Continued Fractions, a book cowritten with Jon Borwein, Wadim Zudilin, and the late Alf van der Poorten (1943–2010), published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.

Professor Shallit is the sole author of A Second Course in Formal Languages And Automata Theory, an advanced upper-year and graduate-level textbook published in 2008 by Cambridge University Press, written for students who wish to learn more about finite automata, pushdown automata, context-free grammars, and Turing machines.

Professor Shallit joined the University of Waterloo in 1990 as an assistant professor. He completed his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, under the supervision of Manuel Blum (winner of the 1995 Turing award) and group theorist David Goldschmidt.

Over his career, Professor Shallit has received many awards and recognitions. He was a Marsland Faculty Fellow from 2010–13. In 2008, he was named an ACM Distinguished Scientist. He received the Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Waterloo twice — once in 2006 and again in 2014. He was a University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics Fellow from 2004 to 2006.

The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters has more than 700 Finnish members and 180 external members. Founded in 1908, the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters is the second oldest academy in Finland. Since 1924, foreign members have been invited to be members. Their selection follows the same strict principles as that for domestic members and all members represent the best of science around the world.

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