Person: Trakhtenbrot, Boris
Boris Trakhtenbrot was an Moldovan-born Russian mathematician who worked in logic, algorithms, theory of computation and cybernetics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- This was the year that Trakhtenbrot graduated from high school.
- The Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union meant that initially the war had little effect on life in the Soviet Union and Trakhtenbrot continued with his education.
- Continual bombing raids saw much of the city in flames and Trakhtenbrot fled from Kishinev in early July before the city fell to the advancing German troops on 14 July.
- Back in Kishinev, Trakhtenbrot qualified as a secondary school teacher of mathematics in 1945.
- He made a visit to Lviv University to meet Andrey Kolmogorov which proved useful, despite Kolmogorov cancelling his trip, since he was able to have discussions with Boris Gnedenko who advised him to contact Piotr Sergeevich Novikov and Alexey Andreevich Lyapunov (1911-1973).
- Boris and Berta Trakhtenbrot had two sons, Mark (born 1950) and Yossef (born 1952).
- Mark Trakhtenbrot became a computer scientist and was a member of the team that received the ACM Software System Award in 2007 for Statemate.
- Let us return to Trakhtenbrot's time at Chernovtsy and his wish to continue to doctoral studies.
- Two visits to Moscow led to Novikov agreeing to supervise Trakhtenbrot's doctoral dissertation which he began in October 1947 in the Kiev Mathematical Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.
- Trakhtenbrot was awarded his doctorate in 1950 for his thesis Decidability Problems for Finite Classes and Definitions of Finite Sets.
- On 5 December 1950, after the defence of his thesis, Trakhtenbrot moved to Penza, about 700 km south east of Moscow, for a position at the Belinski Pedagogical Institute.
- the new Ph.D. Trakhtenbrot, who arrived in 1950 in the University at Penza, was certainly not of proletarian background - a Jew who spoke eight languages, whose research was decidedly abstract and "pure", and who, if his present manner may accurately be extrapolated back over fifty years, must have seemed to the casual observer an easy fit to the stereotype of an absent-minded professor.
- The "gravely threatening" accusations against Trakhtenbrot were based on his research topics and on the seminars that he gave.
- When Trakhtenbrot delivered his first lecture at Penza, The Method of Symbolic Calculi in Mathematics, to his fellow mathematicians, in which he talked about results from his thesis, he was denounced as "an idealist of Carnapian variety." In further lectures throughout 1951 he tried to undo the damage but the attacks on him being an idealist only became worse.
- Trakhtenbrot explains that he learnt to play the game of attacking "vulgarisers of Marxism" to make himself acceptable.
- From 1950 to 1960 Trakhtenbrot worked in Penza, both at the Belinski Pedagogical Institute and at the Penza Industrial Institute which was renamed the Penza Polytechnical Institute in 1958.
- Trakhtenbrot was based in Novosibirsk and in that city he also taught at the State University.
- We have said little about Trakhtenbrot's remarkable contributions.
- For over half a century, Trakhtenbrot has been making seminal contributions to virtually all of the central aspects of theoretical computer science, inaugurating numerous new areas of investigation.
- In June 1991 "An International Symposium on Theoretical Computer Science in honour of Boris A Trakhtenbrot on the occasion of his Retirement and Seventieth Birthday" took place in Tel Aviv.
- On Friday, 28 April 2006, the School of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University held a "Computation Day Celebrating Boaz (Boris) Trakhtenbrot's Eighty-Fifth Birthday".
- In 2011, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science awarded Trakhtenbrot, then about to turn 90, its annual Distinguished Achievements Award.
Born 20 February 1921, Briceva, Northern Bessarabia (now Moldova). Died 19 September 2016, Tel Aviv, Israel.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive