SIAM News Blog

Donald E. Knuth Awarded SIAM’s Highest Honor, Delivers the John von Neumann Lecture

Philadelphia, PA- The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) awards the 2016 John von Neumann Lecture prize to Donald E. Knuth of Stanford University for his transformative contributions to mathematics and computer science. Knuth delivered the associated prize lecture, “Satisfiability and Combinatorics,” at the SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 12. The highest honor awarded by SIAM, the flagship lecture recognizes outstanding and distinguished contributions to the field of applied mathematical sciences and the effective communication of these ideas to the community. 

Pam Cook, University of Delaware; Donald Knuth, Stanford CSD; Jim Crowley, SIAM Executive Director

Knuth founded the field of analysis of algorithms and gave it a rigorous mathematical footing. His ongoing The Art of Computer Programming book series represents the definitive reference on algorithms and their analysis. His TeX and Metafont typesetting software has changed the face of mathematical publishing and benefited every mathematician. Knuth is recognized as a brilliant communicator at all levels, from his research monographs to his more popular books such as Surreal Numbers and his textbook Concrete Mathematics.

Knuth is Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, where he supervised the PhD dissertations of approximately 28 students since becoming a professor in 1968. He is the author of numerous books, including four volumes (so far) of The Art of Computer Programming, five volumes of Computers and Typesetting, nine volumes of collected papers, and a non-technical book entitled Bible Texts Illuminated.

Knuth received his B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics at Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1960 and received his PhD in Mathematics at California Institute of Technology in 1963. 

The John von Neumann Lecture prize was established in 1959 in honor of the Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann and the recipient is awarded an honorarium of $5,000 and a framed, hand-calligraphed certificate.


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The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of more than 14,000 individual, academic and corporate members from 85 countries. SIAM helps build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology to solve real-world problems through publications, conferences, and communities like chapters, sections and activity groups. Learn more at

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