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A New Honorary Doctorate

To me, honorary doctorates are things given to people much older than myself. For instance, my colleague Egon Balas received an honorary doctorate from the University of Liege. But Egon is a bit older than me (though I suspect he will be working long after I have shuffled off to some retirement community).

I was somewhat startled to hear (thanks to Pierre Schaus) that my friend, and, I had assumed, near-contemporary, though maybe he is much, much older than he looks, Pascal van Hentenryck received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Louvain. What’s he got that I don’t got (other than an honorary doctorate)??? Let’s check the brief bio:

Pascal Van Hentenryck is professor of computer science at Brown University and the director of the optimization laboratory. Before coming to Brown in 1990, he spent four years at the European Computer-Industry Research Center (ECRC), where he was the main designer and implementor of the CHIP programming system, the foundation of all modern constraint programming systems. During the last 15 years, he developed a number of influential systems, including the Numerica system for global optimization, the optimization programming language OPL, and the programming language Comet which supports both constraint-based local search and constraint programming. Most of these systems are described in books published by the MIT Press and have been licensed to industry. He also implemented the generic abstract interpretation system GAIA.

Pascal is the recipient of an 1993 NSF National Young Investigator (NYI) award, the 2002 INFORMS ICS Award for research excellence at the interface between computer science and operations research, the 2006 ACP Award for Research Excellence in Constraint Programming, best paper awards at CP’03, CP’04, and IJCAI’07, and an IBM Faculty Award in 2004. He is the author of five books (all published by the MIT Press) and of more than 170 scientific papers. Pascal has a H-number of at least 38 in Google Scholar and his first MIT Press book has more than 1,000 citations.

Right…. OK… I guess there are a couple dozen things he has that I don’t have!

Congratulations Pascal on a very well deserved honor. I note that the other honorees were Professor Fert (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2007), Professor Rivest (Turing Award, 2002), and Professor Tsitsiklis (optimization guru). An amazing group, in which Pascal fits just fine.

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