NYU S Naor Wins 2008 Salem Prize


Award Given to Young Mathematicians in Field of Analysis

Assaf Naor, an associate professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has been awarded the 2008 Salem Prize for his contributions to the structural theory of metric spaces and their applications to computer science.

The prize was established by the widow of Raphael Salem in 1968 and is awarded to young mathematicians judged to have done outstanding work in Salem’s field of interest—the theory of Fourier series, an infinite series used to solve differential equations. Boaz Klartag, an associate professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Tel-Aviv University, also received the Salem Prize this year. Akshay Venkatesh, an associate professor at Courant, won the 2007 Salem Prize.

Naor, 33, works primarily in the area of metric spaces, which are abstract mathematical “universes” in which one can quantitatively measure the distance between any two points. These include distances measured in a three-dimensional world, in which the distance between points is simply the length of the line segment joining them, but encompass other areas as well. Metric spaces are also considered in Internet searches, where the distance between any two web sites is the minimum number of clicks required to pass from one site to another, as well as biology, where researchers measure the similarity between proteins, and in image processing, where one seeks to quantify the similarity between images.

Naor was previously a researcher at Microsoft Research and has been at Courant since 2006. In 2008, he won a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Naor was one of 20 scientif 500

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