Meet Nikhil Srivastava, a Math Genius Behind Solving the 1959 Problem!

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Nikhil Srivastava

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has unanimously picked eminent Indian-American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava for the inaugural $5,000 (INR 3,76,109) Ciprian Foias Prize for “highly remarkable work” in Operator Theory. He’s now acknowledged as a Math Genius for solving a 1959 math problem (the Kadison-Singer problem). Let’s take a closer look at mathematician Nikhil Srivastava, an Indian-born prodigy, and the other two awardees of this prestigious award.

Name  Nikhil Srivastava 
Alma Mater  Union College Yale University 
Known For  Kadison-Singer problem
Profession  Computer Scientist and Mathematician 
Works At Associate Professor of Mathematics, 1035 Evans Hall, UC Berkeley.
Awards Pólya Prize (2014)
Michael and Sheila Held Prize (2021)
Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory (2022)
Research Interests Theoretical computer science, algebraic graph theory, random matrices, asymptotic convex geometry, the geometry of polynomials

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Who is Mathematician Nikhil Srivastava? 

Nikhil Srivastava is a University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of mathematics. He was chosen a laureate of the Pólya Prize in July 2014, with Adam Marcus and Daniel Spielman. He was born in New Delhi, India, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 2005. His research on “Spectral Sparsification with Restricted Invertibility” earned him a PhD in Computer Science from Yale University in 2010.

Nikhil Srivastava
Credits: PACM, Princeton University

Winning the Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) will present the Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory to Nikhil Srivastava, who is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, on January 5, 2022. Adam Marcus and Daniel Spielman are the other two recipients of the award along with Indian origin mathematician Nikhil Srivastava. At the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Adam Marcus is the Chair of Combinatorial Analysis. Daniel Spielman is the Sterling Professor of Computer Science, as well as a Professor of Statistics, Professor of Data Science and Professor of Mathematics.

The prize recognises their extremely innovative work, which included the iterative sparsification method (also in partnership with Batson) and the method of interlacing polynomials, which established and developed methods for comprehending the characteristic polynomial of matrices.

Credits: Microsoft Research India

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The Kadison-Singer Problem  

“Together, these ideas provided a powerful toolkit with many applications,” the American Mathematical Society said, citing the trio’s breakthrough paper ‘Interlacing families II: mixed characteristic polynomials and the Kadison-Singer problem’ (Annals of Mathematics, 2015), which solves the famous ‘paving problem’ in operator theory, formulated by Richard Kadison and Isadore Singer in 1959.

The Final Chapter of their Involvement

The three honorees said in a joint statement that they accept the prize on behalf of the many people whose work contributed to the solution of the Kadison–Singer problem. “Our involvement was the final chapter of an amazing storey we hope will inspire similar solutions to difficult problems in the future,” Nikhil Srivastava and his colleagues remarked. Professor and mathematician Nikhil Srivastava along with his colleagues will receive the prestigious award on January 5, 2022, during the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Seattle, USA, which is advertised as ‘the world’s largest mathematics meeting of all time.’  Professor Srivastava has now won three major prizes: the George Polya Prize in 2014, the Held Prize in 2021, and now the Ciprian Foias Prize. In commemoration of Ciprian Foias, an eminent professor in Operator Theory and fluid dynamics, the award was founded in 2020. The current prize amount is $5,000 (INR 3,76,109) and the prize is awarded every three years.

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