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Autoportret Witolda Lipskiego

Witold Lipski

When Witold Lipski died in May 1985, he was just 35 years old. But in computer science he was already a well known and internationally respected figure. During his short (lasting less than ten years) scientific career he has authored and coauthored fundamental papers in astonishingly broad spectrum of topics ranging from combinatorics, through graph theory, VLSI design, database theory, to applications of logic in computer science. Today, nearly 20 years after his death, his papers are still frequently referenced in computer science literature (almost 3000 pages on Google), several of them simply seminal.

I was fortunate to be one of Witold's first PhD students. I view the period of working under his guidance and later collaborating with him as one of the most fascinating and rewarding times of my entire career. When in 1978 I joined IPI PAN as research assistant, Witold, just 29, was already a star, spending Fulbright scholarship at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Upon his return in 1979, Zbyszek Michalewicz and myself became his first PhD students. The student-advisor relationship has gradually evolved into intensive scientific collaboration, when during less than two years Witold and I have coauthored nearly ten joint papers in database theory. Witold combined brilliant mathematical mind with ability of elegant formal representation of practical problems.

I enthusiastically support the initiative of creating special award bearing Witold's name; it would be difficult to find a better example of prominent career of polish scientist, specially achieved so early, at such young age, and unfortunately, so tragically interrupted.

Tomasz Imielinski
Department of Computer Science
Rutgers University

Witek Lipski was a creative and respected researcher in several areas of Computer Science. His numerous contributions span a wide range of topics, from database theory to logic, to combinatorial algorithms, to computational geometry, and exhibit a unique character of intellectual elegance. His scholarly work appeared in the most prestigious venues of our profession.

In addition to being a highly regarded scientist and a cultivated individual, Witek was a wonderful human being, whose memory will remain for us a constant source of inspiration.

Franco P. Preparata
An Wang Professor of Computer Science
Department of Computer Science
Brown University Providence

Witold Lipski visited me at MIT in 1980, and we quickly became research collaborators and friends. What I remember most vividly from him is his optimism and very original sense of humor, and the fearlessness with which he would plunge into a new mathematical problem, irrespective of area or seemingly required background --- as long as the problem looked interesting to him.

He was a pleasure and an inspiration for me during the sadly short period of our acquaintance. I believe that naming this prize after Lipski is very appropriate; Witek would have liked nothing more than to inspire young mathematicians from his beloved Poland.

Christos Papadimitriou
Computer Science Division
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, California