Computer scientist Leslie Valiant named 2012 ACM Fellow

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) cited his "transformative contributions to the theory of computation"

January 7, 2013

Cambridge, Mass. - January 7, 2013 - Leslie Valiant, T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been named a 2012 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

He is among 52 people who were recently named Fellows for their contributions to computing that are fundamentally advancing technology in healthcare, cybersecurity, science, communications, entertainment,business, and education.

Valiant was recognized in particular for "transformative contributions to the theory of computation."

Celebrated in 2010 with the ACM's prestigious A. M. Turing Award, Valiant has long been recognized as a pioneer in the field of computer science. The Turing Award noted his very significant work on "the theory of probably approximately correct (PAC) learning, the complexity of enumeration and of algebraic computation, and the theory of parallel and distributed computing."

"Rarely does one see such a striking combination of depth and breadth as in Valiant’s work," wrote the Turing Award Committee at the time. "His is truly a heroic figure in theoretical computer science and a role model for his courage and creativity in addressing some of the deepest unsolved problems in science."

With degrees from the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of Warwick, Valiant began his career at Carnegie Mellon University, and subsequently taught at Leeds University and the University of Edinburgh. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1982.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Major honors he has earned, beside the Turing Award, include the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science Award (2008), the Knuth Prize (1997), and the Nevanlinna Prize (1986).

ACM will formally recognize the 2012 Fellows at its annual Awards Banquet on June 15, 2013, in San Francisco. Additional information about the ACM 2012 Fellows and the awards event, as well as previous ACM Fellows and award winners is available at


About ACMACM, the Association for Computing Machinery,is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society,uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking. 

About the ACM Fellows Program The ACM Fellows Program,initiated in 1993, celebrates the exceptional contributions of the leading members in the computing field.  These individuals have helped to enlighten researchers, developers, practitioners and end-users of information technology throughout the world. The new ACM Fellows join a distinguished list of colleagues to whom ACM and its members look for guidance and leadership in computing and information technology.