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Endre Szemerédi

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Endre Szemerédi
Szemerédi in 2014
Born (1940-08-21) August 21, 1940 (age 83)
NationalityHungarian, American
Alma materEötvös Loránd University
AwardsAbel Prize (2012)
Széchenyi Prize (2012)
Rolf Schock Prizes (2008)
Leroy P. Steele Prize (2008)
George Pólya Prize (1975)
Alfréd Rényi Prize (1973)
Member of the National Academy of Sciences
Scientific career
Computer science
Theoretical computer science
InstitutionsRutgers University
Doctoral advisorIsrael Gelfand
Doctoral studentsJaikumar Radhakrishnan
Gábor N. Sárközy

Endre Szemerédi (Hungarian: [ˈɛndrɛ ˈsɛmɛreːdi]; born August 21, 1940) is a Hungarian-American[1] mathematician and computer scientist, working in the field of combinatorics and theoretical computer science. He has been the State of New Jersey Professor of computer science at Rutgers University since 1986. He also holds a professor emeritus status at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Szemerédi has won prizes in mathematics and science, including the Abel Prize in 2012. He has made a number of discoveries in combinatorics and computer science, including Szemerédi's theorem, the Szemerédi regularity lemma, the Erdős–Szemerédi theorem, the Hajnal–Szemerédi theorem and the Szemerédi–Trotter theorem.

Early life[edit]

Szemerédi was born in Budapest. Since his parents wished him to become a doctor, Szemerédi enrolled at a college of medicine, but he dropped out after six months (in an interview[2] he explained it: "I was not sure I could do work bearing such responsibility.").[3][4][5] He studied at the Faculty of Sciences of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and received his PhD from Moscow State University. His adviser was Israel Gelfand.[6] This stemmed from a misspelling, as Szemerédi originally wanted to study with Alexander Gelfond.[3]

Academic career[edit]

Szemerédi has been the State of New Jersey Professor of computer science at Rutgers University since 1986. He has held visiting positions at Stanford University (1974), McGill University (1980), the University of South Carolina (1981–1983) and the University of Chicago (1985–1986).


Endre Szemerédi has published over 200 scientific articles in the fields of discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, arithmetic combinatorics and discrete geometry. He is best known for his proof from 1975 of an old conjecture of Paul Erdős and Pál Turán: if a sequence of natural numbers has positive upper density then it contains arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions. This is now known as Szemerédi's theorem. One of the lemmas introduced in his proof is now known as the Szemerédi regularity lemma, which has become an important lemma in combinatorics, being used for instance in property testing for graphs and in the theory of graph limits.

He is also known for the Szemerédi–Trotter theorem in incidence geometry and the Hajnal–Szemerédi theorem and Ruzsa–Szemerédi problem in graph theory. Miklós Ajtai and Szemerédi proved the corners theorem, an important step toward higher-dimensional generalizations of the Szemerédi theorem. With Ajtai and János Komlós he proved the ct2/log t upper bound for the Ramsey number R(3,t), and constructed a sorting network of optimal depth. With Ajtai, Václav Chvátal, and Monroe M. Newborn, Szemerédi proved the famous Crossing Lemma, that a graph with n vertices and m edges, where m > 4n has at least m3 / 64n2 crossings. With Paul Erdős, he proved the Erdős–Szemerédi theorem on the number of sums and products in a finite set. With Wolfgang Paul, Nick Pippenger, and William Trotter, he established a separation between nondeterministic linear time and deterministic linear time, in the spirit of the infamous P versus NP problem.

Awards and honors[edit]

Szemerédi has won numerous awards and honors for his contribution to mathematics and computer science. A few of them are listed here:

Szemerédi is a corresponding member (1982), and member (1987) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a member (2010) of the United States National Academy of Sciences.[17] He was elected to the Academia Europaea in 2022.[14] He is also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and a permanent research fellow at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics in Budapest. He was the Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology in 1987–88. He is an honorary doctor[18] of Charles University in Prague. He was the lecturer in the Forty-Seventh Annual DeLong Lecture Series[19] at the University of Colorado. He is also a recipient of the Aisenstadt Chair at CRM,[20] University of Montreal. In 2008 he was the Eisenbud Professor at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California.

In 2012, Szemerédi was awarded the Abel Prize "for his fundamental contributions to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and in recognition of the profound and lasting impact of these contributions on additive number theory and ergodic theory"[21] The Abel Prize citation also credited Szemerédi with bringing combinatorics to the centre-stage of mathematics and noted his place in the tradition of Hungarian mathematicians such as George Pólya who emphasized a problem-solving approach to mathematics.[22] Szemerédi reacted to the announcement by saying that "It is not my own personal achievement, but recognition for this field of mathematics and Hungarian mathematicians," that gave him the most pleasure.[23]


An Irregular Mind (2010 book cover)

On August 2–7, 2010, the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics and the János Bolyai Mathematical Society organized a conference in honor of the 70th birthday of Endre Szemerédi.[24]

Prior to the conference a volume of the Bolyai Society Mathematical Studies Series, An Irregular Mind, a collection of papers edited by Imre Bárány and József Solymosi, was published to celebrate Szemerédi's achievements on the occasion of his 70th birthday.[25] Another conference devoted to celebrating Szemerédi's work is the Third Abel Conference: A Mathematical Celebration of Endre Szemerédi.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Szemerédi is married to Anna Kepes; they have five children, Andrea, Anita, Peter, Kati, and Zsuzsi.[19][27]


  1. ^ "Magyar tudós kapta a matematika Nobel-díját" (in Hungarian). Népszava. March 21, 2012. Archived from the original on June 10, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  2. ^ By Gabor Stockert
  3. ^ a b Raussen, Martin; Skau, Christian (2013), "Interview with Endre Szemerédi" (PDF), Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 60 (2): 221–231, doi:10.1090/noti948
  4. ^ "Endre Szemerédi › Heidelberg Laureate Forum". Archived from the original on September 25, 2013.
  5. ^ Sunita Chand; Ramesh Chandra Parida . Science Reporter, February 2013, p. 17
  6. ^ Endre Szemerédi at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  7. ^ Recipients are listed on Budapest University of Technology and Economics website: "John von Neumann Professors". Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Archived from the original on September 12, 2022. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c "2012: Endre Szemerédi Biography" (PDF). Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  9. ^ "Endre Szemerédi". Rényi. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  10. ^ "George Pólya Prize in Applied Combinatorics". SIAM. May 26, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  11. ^ Szemeredi, Endre (August 21, 2022). "Szemeredi, Endre". Home. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  12. ^ "Browse Prizes and Awards". American Mathematical Society. November 26, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  13. ^ Major US Maths Prize Given to HAS Full Member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, January 9, 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Endre Szemerédi", Members, Academia Europaea, retrieved March 31, 2024
  15. ^ "2012: Endre Szemerédi". The Abel Prize. August 21, 2022. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  16. ^ "Óbudai Egyetem: Tehetség. Siker. Közösség". ÓU. September 16, 2020. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  17. ^ "Endre Szemerédi". Member directory. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  18. ^ "Doctor honoris causa Endre Szemerédi". June 15–16, 2010.
  19. ^ a b DeLong Lecture Series. Math.colorado.edu. Retrieved on March 22, 2012.
  20. ^ Aisenstadt Chair Recipients. Crm.umontreal.ca. Retrieved on March 22, 2012.
  21. ^ "Hungarian-American Endre Szemerédi named Abel Prize winner". The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  22. ^ Ramachandran, R. (March 22, 2012). "Hungarian mathematician Endre Szemerédi gets 2012 Abel Prize". The Hindu. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  23. ^ Ellis-Nutt, Amy (March 22, 2012). "Rutgers math professor's discovery earns prestigious award, $1M prize". NJ.com. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  24. ^ Szemerédi is 70. Renyi.hu. Retrieved on March 22, 2012.
  25. ^ Bárány, Imre; Solymosi, József; Sági, Gábor (2010). An Irregular Mind: Szemerédi is 70. Bolyai Society Mathematical Studies. Vol. 21. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-14444-8. ISBN 978-3-642-14443-1.
  26. ^ Third Abel Conference: A Mathematical Celebration of Endre Szemerédi
  27. ^ "2012 Endre Szemeredi". The Abel Prize 2008–2012. The Abel Prize. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. August 9, 2013. p. 451. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-39449-2. ISBN 978-3-642-39448-5. ISSN 2661-829X.

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