Date Posted: 4/20/2022

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Éva Tardos, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Science and department chair in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, the 2022-2023 ACM Athena Lecturer. Tardos is recognized for fundamental research contributions to combinatorial optimization, approximation algorithms, and algorithmic game theory, and for her dedicated mentoring and service to these communities. Initiated in 2006, the ACM Athena Lecturer Award celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science.

“Each year ACM honors a preeminent woman computer scientist as the Athena Lecturer,” said ACM President Gabriele Kotsis. “Athena Lecturers are recognized for both enduring technical contributions, as well as their community service and mentoring. Eva Tardos has played a central role in shaping the field of algorithms over three decades, and she has been one of the foremost authorities in the emerging field of algorithmic game theory. Her work, her generosity to younger colleagues, and her service to the wider field have been outstanding. We look forward to presenting her with this award and we know she will continue to make contributions for years to come.”

Tardos is one of the most influential leaders in the field of theoretical computer science with key contributions to combinatorial optimization, including the first strongly polynomial-time algorithm for the minimum-cost flow problem (for which she received the Fulkerson Prize) and a general framework for fast approximation of packing and covering linear programs.

The applications of her work include solving problems in facility location, network routing, and the spread of influence in social networks. Tardos also played a key role in founding the field of algorithmic game theory by developing algorithms in the presence of self-interested agents that are governed by incentives and economic constraints.

Her pioneering work using game-theoretic ideas to quantify the performance gaps between centrally managed network traffic and the flow of traffic directed by self-interested agents (selfish routing) was recognized with the Gödel Prize. She subsequently developed new approaches to analyzing dynamic games and new algorithms for mechanism design including composable ones. 

A Fellow of the ACM, Tardos has also received the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, the George B. Dantzig Prize, the Van Wijngaarden Award, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. She is a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and the Game Theory Society. She has also been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Arts and Science.

In addition to fundamental contribution to computer science, Tardos is a remarkable educator, mentor, and leader in her scientific community. She has received awards for excellence in teaching and leadership for her work supporting women in computer science, and several of her former students are now prominent figures in the field. She has held posts including Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, and Diversity Lead for the college and department.

Tardos will be formally presented with the ACM Athena Lecturer Award at the annual ACM Awards Banquet, which will be held on Saturday, June 11 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. As part of the honor, Tardos is invited to present a lecture at a future ACM conference.