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Four Indian Americans win top science and maths awards

Washington, July 27 (IANS) Four Indian American professors are among the 13 mathematicians, theoretical physicists and theoretical computer scientists who have won 2013 Simons Investigators awards.

Currently working at Stanford University, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pennsylvania University, they will each receive $100,000 a year for five years for their long-term research with the possibility of renewal for five additional years.

The awards are given by nonprofit New York-based Simons Foundation, incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons with a mission to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.

Among four mathematicians who won Simons grants is Stanford professor of mathematics Kannan Soundararajan, “one of the world’s leaders in analytic number theory and related areas,” the Simons Foundation said.

“His work is focused on understanding the zeros and value distribution of L-functions, and on analyzing the behaviour of multiplicative functions.”

The India-born professor represented India at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1991, where he won a silver medal. A Sloan Foundation Fellow, he has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Princeton.

Two of three awards in computer science went to Indian Americans. They are Rajeev Alur, Zisman Family Professor in the department of information and computer science at the University of Pennsylvania; and Salil P. Vadhan, Vicky Joseph Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University.

Alur is a top researcher in formal modelling and algorithmic analysis of computer systems, the Simons Foundation said.

“A number of automata and logics introduced by him have now become standard models with great impact on both the theory and practice of verification.”

Alur has BS and PhD degrees in computer science from IIT-Kanpur and Stanford University, respectively.

Vadhan, the Simons Foundation said, has “produced a series of original and influential papers on computational complexity and cryptography. He uses complexity-theoretic methods and perspectives to delineate the border between the possible and impossible in cryptography and data privacy.”

Vadhan has a PhD in applied mathematics from MIT, a certificate of advanced study in mathematics from Churchill College at Cambridge University and AB in mathematics and computer science from Harvard University.

Senthil Todadri, a professor of physics at MIT and Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute of Physics, was one of six Simons grant winners in that discipline.

“Senthil Todadri’s work with Fisher on Z2 topological order in models of spin liquid states provided key insights and initiated the systematic investigation of gauge structures in many-body systems, now a vital subfield of condensed matter physics,” the foundation said.

Todadri has his Ph.D. from Yale and an undergraduate degree from IIT-Kanpur.

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