2007 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Exact Sciences
In Field: Computer Science
Prof. Micha Sharir was born in Tel-Aviv in 1950.
As a high-school student he won first prizes in the Mathematics Youth Olympiad of the Weizmann Institute and in the Technion's Grossman Contest in Mathematics. He served in the Intelligence Corps where he was part of a research team that won the Israel Defense Prize. During his military service he completed his M.Sc. and PhD (1976) in Pure Mathematics at Tel-Aviv University. He switched to computer science during his postdoctoral studies at New-York University, and then joined, in 1980, the staff of the Department of Computer Science at Tel-Aviv University as senior lecturer, and in 1985 he was appointed full professor.
In the early 1980s, together with Prof. Jacob Schwartz who was his supervisor in New York, he laid the foundations for a new research field - Algorithmic Motion Planning in Robotics. The theory was introduced in a series of articles about the "Piano Movers". He served as deputy director of the Robotics Lab in New York for four years. In parallel, he started to study Computational Geometry - a field that was then in its infancy. Over the years he became one of the leading scientists in the field. His studies have yielded basic results and many breakthroughs that have shaped the field, contributed to many of its applications, and promoted knowledge of it.
He is the incumbent of the Isaias and Alicia Nizri Chair in Computational Geometry and Robotics, and served as Head of the Department of Computer Science (twice) and as Head of the School of Mathematical Sciences.
Over the years he has published ca. 275 articles in scientific journals, and in 1995 he published a book summarizing his research. He has supervised almost 20 PhD students and a similar number of M.Sc. students. Most of his former students now hold academic posts, both in Israel and abroad.
His studies won him many prizes, including the Max Planck Research Award (1992), and an honorary doctorate from Utrecht University (1996).
In 1997 he was elected as Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and received the Feher Prize in Computer Science (1999) and the Landau Prize for Science and Research (2002).