Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2015 Young Alumni Achievement Medal Winner
Erik Demaine, a child prodigy, was admitted to the University of Waterloo at the age of 14 as a Graduate student in the David Cherition School of Computer Science. He wrote his first computer program at the age of seven. By the time Demaine completed his PhD in 2002 he had already collaborated with 90 co-authors, and written 80 papers on topics as various as the mathematics of paper folding, cache efficient data structures, and distributed computing. Demaine began teaching at MIT at the age of twenty, reportedly the youngest professor in the history of the institution. Demaine has made outstanding contributions in several fields of algorithms, namely computational geometry, data structures, graph algorithms and recreational algorithms. In computational geometry and data structures he has solved or made significant progress on classic problems such as the carpenter’s rule problem, the hinged-dissection problem, the prefix-sum problem, and the dynamic optimality conjecture.