Kingsman Leslie Valiant has just won one of the most prestigious awards in computer science, the Association for Computing Machinery's AM Turing Award.
Valiant read Mathematics at King's. He graduated in 1970, and went on to study at Imperial College and the University of Warwick. He is currently T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard.
The AM Turing award recognises his 'fundamental contributions to many aspects of theoretical computer science'. In particular it recognises his contribution to computational learning theory, which has enabled computers to reason more like humans.
His research has had many practical applications, from anti-spam filters to speech-learning software. Jennifer Chayes, a member of the selection committee and the managing director of Microsoft Research New England said, 'I think Les Valiant’s award is one of the strongest Turing Awards ever. His work is absolutely amazing.' Read the full award citation.
The award includes a $250,000 cash prize funded by Intel and Google. It will be presented at a banquet on 4 June in San Jose, California.
The prize is named after Alan Turing (1912 - 1954), who is recognised as a father of modern computer science, and who was himself a student and then a Fellow of King's.