Native American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava wins the 2014 George Polya Prize – the American Bazaar


Yale-alun Srivastava is a researcher at Microsoft.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Indo-American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava has been named the 2014 recipient of the George Polya Prize, an award for outstanding work in the field of mathematics awarded by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

Nikhil Srivastava (courtesy Yale)

Srivastava, who is currently a researcher at Microsoft, won the award for his proof of a mathematical conundrum known as the Kadison-Singer problem. Despite being deemed insoluble for over 50 years, Srivastava – along with fellow researchers Adam Marcus and Daniel A. Spielman – proved it in an article last summer, titled “Interlacing Families II: Mixed Characteristic Polynomials and the Kadison-Singer Problem “.

“Not only have Marcus, Spielman and Srivastava proven an important conjecture, which has consequences in various fields of mathematics, but their elegant methods promise to be applicable to a wide range of other problems as well,” said the SIAM, in announcing the trio as the winner of the Polya Prize.

Named after the famous Hungarian mathematician George Polya, the Poly Prize is considered one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of the mathematician, awarded all over the world. Srivastava and his two partners will receive the award at the annual SIAM meeting, which began Monday and ends Friday in Chicago.

Srivastava attended Union College in Schnectady, New York for his undergraduate studies, graduating summa cum laude with a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science and a minor in English. He then did his doctorate. at Yale University, where he obtained it in computer science (Spielman was his advisor) for his thesis on “Spectral Sparsification and Restricted Invertibility”.

He has held positions at the two aforementioned schools, as well as at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing in Berkeley.

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