Last week, the National Science Foundation selected Subhash Khot *03 to receive the Alan T. Waterman Award, a prestigious grant of $500,000 over three years that supports one outstanding researcher under the age of 36. Khot, who earned a Ph.D. from Princeton's computer science department and now works as an associate professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, joins UCLA professor Terence Tao *96 as the second Princeton alumnus to win the honor in the last three years. (Past winners also include Edward Witten *76 and Charles Fefferman *69.)

Khot is a theoretical computer scientist whose interests include the fundamental phenomenon of "computationally intractable" problems -- computational problems that cannot be solved quickly. "He courageously tackles some of the most challenging computational problems, all the while advancing computer security, with vast consequences for the broader security of our personal identities, commercial interests, societal institutions ... even for national security as a whole," said Arden L. Bement Jr., director of the National Science Foundation.

At Princeton, Khot wrote his dissertation on "New Techniques for Probabilistically Checkable Proofs and Inapproximability Results." In 2008, he signed on as an investigator in the Princeton-based Center for Intractability, an NSF-funded project that includes researchers from Princeton, NYU, Rutgers, and the Institute for Advanced Study.

(Photo courtesy of Subhash Khot *03/New York University)

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