Eulogy to Shimon Even

by Oded Goldreich (June 2004). To appear in the proceedings of PODC'04

Shimon Even (1935-2004)

This year, on May 1, the theoretical computer science community lost one of its most inspiring role models.

Shimon Even was born in Israel on June 15th, 1935. He produced high-quality, innovative research for more than four decades in areas as diverse as switching and automata theory, coding theory, combinatorial (e.g., graph) algorithms, complexity theory, cryptography and distributed computing. In addition to his pioneering research contributions, Shimon was a highly influential educator. He played a major role in establishing computer science education in Israel (e.g., at the Weizmann Institute and the Technion). He was the thesis adviser of more than a dozen PhD students (of whom Baruch Awerbuch and Sergio Rajsbaum are best known in the PODC community), and an informal mentor of numerous other young researchers. He was the author of two influential books, most notably ``Graph Algorithms'' (Computer Science Press, 1979).

Shimon Even was a great scientist and a remarkable person. His attitudes towards research have influenced anybody who was fortunate to have a close interaction with him and often left a deep mark even in researchers who just heard him lecture. Through these fortunate people, Shimon's influence has been propagated and will continue to propagate further.

Shimon always followed his own judgment and understanding, rather than the common trend or fashion. He chose to study problems that he considered natural and important. He sought simple solutions that uncover the essence of the problem (rather than obscure it). He spent much time seeking the best way to present his own work as well as the work of others in lectures and writing. He would not compromise on any of the above attitudes, which seem all rooted in a deep commitment to truth and science.

Viewing the world as a battlefield between hope and despair, it seems that Shimon Even's death can be ``averaged'' by us strengthening our commitment to his way of life: the uncompromising quest of truth.

See memorial page for Shimon Even.

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