Juris Hartmanis

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Juris Hartmanis
Juris Hartmanis(2002).jpg
Born(1928-07-05)July 5, 1928
, Latvia
DiedJuly 29, 2022(2022-07-29) (aged 94)
Alma mater
AwardsTuring Award (1993)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
Doctoral advisorRobert P. Dilworth
Doctoral studentsAllan Borodin (1969)
Dexter Kozen (1977)
Neil Immerman (1980)
Jin-Yi Cai (1986)[1]

Juris Hartmanis (July 5, 1928 – July 29, 2022) was a Latvian-born American computer scientist and computational theorist who, with Richard E. Stearns, received the 1993 ACM Turing Award "in recognition of their seminal paper which established the foundations for the field of computational complexity theory".

Life and career

Hartmanis was born in Latvia on July 5, 1928.[2] He was a son of Mārtiņš Hartmanis [lv],[3] a general in the Latvian Army, and Irma Marija Hartmane. He was the younger brother of the poet Astrid Ivask. After the Soviet Union occupied Latvia in 1940, Mārtiņš Hartmanis was arrested by the Soviets and died in a prison. Later in World War II, the wife and children of Mārtiņš Hartmanis left Latvia in 1944 as refugees, fearing for their safety if the Soviet Union took over Latvia again.[6][7]

They first moved to Germany, where Juris Hartmanis received the equivalent of a master's degree in physics from the University of Marburg. He then moved to the United States, where in 1951 he received a master's degree in applied mathematics at the University of Kansas City (now known as the University of Missouri–Kansas City) and in 1955 a Ph.D. in mathematics from Caltech under the supervision of Robert P. Dilworth.[8] The University of Missouri–Kansas City honored him with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in May 1999.[9] After teaching mathematics at Cornell University and Ohio State University, Hartmanis joined the General Electric Research Laboratory in 1958. While at General Electric, he developed many principles of computational complexity theory.[15] In 1965, he became a professor at Cornell University. He was one of the founders and the first chair of its computer science department (which was one of the first computer science departments in the world).[16]

Hartmanis contributed to national efforts to advance computer science and engineering (CS&E) in many ways. Most significantly, he chaired the National Research Council study that resulted in the 1992 publication Computing the Future – A Broad Agenda for Computer Science and Engineering,[17] which made recommendations based on its priorities to sustain the core effort in CS&E, to broaden the field, and to improve undergrad education in CS&E. He was assistant director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)[18] from 1996 to 1998.

In 1989, Hartmanis was elected as a member into the National Academy of Engineering for fundamental contributions to computational complexity theory and to research and education in computing. He was a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and of the American Mathematical Society,[19] also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.[20] He was also a foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences,[21] which bestowed him their Grand Medal [lv] in 2001 for his contributions to computer science.[22]

Hartmanis died on July 29, 2022.[23][24][25]

Computational complexity: foundational contributions

In 1993, Hartmanis and

R.E. Stearns
received the highest prize in computer science, the Turing Award. The citation reads, "In recognition of their seminal paper which established the foundations for the field of computational complexity theory."[26] Their paper[13] defined the foundational notion of a Complexity class, a way of classifying computational problems according to the time required to solve them. They went on to prove a number of fundamental results such as the Time hierarchy theorem. In his own Turing Award lecture, Richard M. Karp remarks that "[I]t is the 1965 paper by Juris Hartmanis and Richard Stearns that marks the beginning of the modern era of complexity theory."[27]

With P.M. Lewis II, Hartmanis and Stearns also defined complexity classes based on space usage and proved the first space hierarchy theorem.[12] In the same year they also proved[28] that every context-free language has deterministic space complexity (log n)2, which contained the essential idea that led to Savitch's theorem on space complexity.

Hartmanis continued to make significant contributions to the field of computational complexity for decades. With Leonard Berman, he proved that all natural NP-complete languages are polynomial-time isomorphic[29] and conjectured that this holds for all NP-complete sets.[30] Although the conjecture itself remains open, it has led to a large body of research on the structure of NP-complete sets, culminating in Mahaney's theorem on the nonexistence of sparse NP-complete sets.[31][32][33][34] He and his coauthors also defined the Boolean hierarchy.[35][36]

Hartmanis's 1981 article [14] gives a personal account of developments in this area and in automata theory and discusses the underlying beliefs and philosophy that guided his research. The book written in honor of his 60th birthday,[37] in particular, the chapter by Stearns,[38] is a valuable resource on computational complexity.

In the late 1980's, Hartmanis's exposition[39] on a newly discovered letter dated 20 March 1956 from Gödel to von Neumann brought fresh insight into the early history of computational complexity before his landmark paper with Stearns, touching on interactions among Turing, Gödel, Church, Post, and Kleene. Gödel, in this letter, was the first to question whether a problem equivalent to an NP-complete problem could be solved in quadratic or linear time, presaging the P = NP? question.


Selected publications

  • Algebraic Structure Theory of Sequential Machines
    R.E. Stearns
  • Feasible Computations and Provable Complexity Properties[51] 1978
  • Computational Complexity Theory (ed.)[52] 1989
  • Computing the Future: A broader agenda for computer science and engineering (ed.)[53] 1992 (with Herbert Lin)
Selected articles
  • "Computational complexity of recursive sequences"[10] 1964 (with R.E. Stearns)
  • "Classifications of computations by time and memory requirements"[11] 1965 (with P.M. Lewis and R.E. Stearns)
  • "Hierarchies of memory limited computations"[12] 1965 (with P.M. Lewis and R.E. Stearns)
  • "On the computational complexity of algorithms"[13] 1965 (with R.E. Stearns)
  • Memory bounds for recognition of context-free and context-sensitive languages[28] 1965 (with P.M. Lewis and R.E. Stearns)
  • "On isomorphisms and density of NP and other complete sets"[29] 1977 (with L. Berman)
  • "Observations about the development of theoretical computer science"[14] 1981
  • "Gödel, von Neumann, and the P =? NP problem"[39] 1989


Juris Hartmanis has been interviewed four times. Videos are available for two of them. The most far-reaching one is by William Aspray.


  1. ^ "Juris Hartmanis". mathgenealogy.org. Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  2. S2CID 31789744
    . Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  3. ^ In the Baltic languages, own-names are not lexical constants, but have different grammatical forms. Hartmanis must be understood as Hartman-is, whereby Hartman is the stem of the own-name, whereas the suffix -is indicates a masculine grammatical form in the Latvian language. In a similar manner, for example, the philosopher Kant is known as Kantas in the Lithuanian language.
  4. ^ .
  5. ^ a b Hartmanis, Juris (May 17, 2018). "Juris Hartmanis, 1993 ACM Turing Award Recipient" (video). Interviewed by David Gries. Ithaca, New York: ACM.
  6. ^ In two of the interviews[4][5] cited in section #Interviews, Hartmanis talks in detail of this period of his life, in which his father was given an estate, Lestene; the Russians occupied Latvia, took his father away, and confiscated Lestene; the Germans took over once more and restored part of Lestene to his family; and the family left Latvia for Germany before the Russians invaded Latvia again.
  7. ^ "A Tribute to Astrid Ivask: A Literary Light". World Literature Today. April 2, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  8. .
  9. ^ a b "University of Missouri Honorary Degrees". University of Missouri.
  10. ^ .
  11. ^ .
  12. ^ .
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ These early papers developed many principles of computational complexity theory.[10][11][12][13] Hartmanis's 1981 survey paper provides extensive information on the work in computational complexity theory.[14]
  16. ^ Purdue University created the first CS Department in 1962 "History of the Department". Cornell started its CS Department in 1965, "CS Dept. timeline". as did Stanford, "CS Dept. timeline"., Carnegie Mellon, "CS Dept. history". and a few others.
  17. .
  18. ^ "Juris Hartmanis to Lead NSF's Directorate for CISE". NSF. September 5, 1996. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  19. ^ a b List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved January 19, 2013.
  20. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected Archived May 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, National Academy of Sciences, April 30, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Foreign members". Latvian Academy of Sciences. 1990. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  22. ^ a b "Lielā medaļa" [Grand Medal]. www.lza.lv (in Latvian). Latvian Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on January 6, 2022. Retrieved August 4, 2022. 2001 ... Juris Hartmanis, par izcilu ieguldījumu datorzinātņu attīstībā. [2001 ... Juris Hartmanis, for his outstanding contribution to the development of computer science.]
  23. ^ 新智元 [Xin Zhi Yuan] (July 31, 2022). "图灵奖得主,"计算复杂性"理论奠基人Juris Hartmanis逝世,享年94岁" [Turing Award winner and founder of "computational complexity" theory, Juris Hartmanis, dies at 94]. 新浪 finance.sina.com.cn (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  24. ^ Waldron, Patricia (August 4, 2022). "Juris Hartmanis, first CS department chair, dies at 94". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  25. .
  26. ^ a b "Turing Award". ACM. 1993. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  27. ISSN 0001-0782
  28. ^ .
  29. ^
  30. ^ Berman–Hartmanis conjecture
  31. .
  32. ^ Sparse language
  33. ^ Mahaney's theorem
  34. .
  35. .
  36. ^ a b Hartmanis, Juris (1989). "Gödel, von Neumann, and the P =? NP problem". Bulletin of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science. 38: 101–107.
  37. ^ "Fellows". American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1981. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  38. ^ "NAE Website – Dr. Juris Hartmanis". National Academy of Engineering.
  39. ^ "Members". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1992. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  40. ^ "Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Juris Hartmanis". Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. 1993.
  41. ^ "ACM Fellows". ACM. 1994. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  42. ^ "Juris Hartmanis: ACM Fellow". 1994. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  43. ^ "Distinguished Service Award". Computing Research Association. CRA. January 16, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  44. ^ "ACM Distinguished Service Award". ACM. 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  45. ^ "Juris Hartmanis: Distinguished Service Award". 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  46. ^ "Member Emeritus". National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  47. .
  48. .
  49. .
  50. .
  51. ^ Hartmanis, Juris (March 31, 2010). "A Conversation with Juris Hartmanis" (video). Interviewed by David Gries. Ithaca, New York: Internet-First University Press.
  52. S2CID 35051248

External links