The Van Wijngaarden Awards 2021 are awarded to computer scientist Marta Kwiatkowska and mathematician Susan A. Murphy for the numerous and highly significant contributions they made to their respective research areas: preventing software faults and improving decision making in health. The five-yearly award is established by CWI, the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands, and is named after former CWI director Aad van Wijngaarden. The winners receive the prize during a festive soirée on 18 November in Amsterdam.

CWI Van Wijngaarden Award winners 2021: Marta Kwiatkowska (University of Oxford; on the left) and Susan A. Murphy (Harvard University).

CWI Van Wijngaarden Award winners 2021: Marta Kwiatkowska (University of Oxford; on the left) and Susan A. Murphy (Harvard University).

Marta Kwiatkowska (University of Oxford) is a computer scientist who pioneered research on modelling, verification, and synthesis of probabilistic systems. Susan A. Murphy (Harvard University) is a professor of statistics and computer science. Her research focuses on improving sequential, individualized, decision making in health, in particular on clinical trial design and data analysis to inform the development of just-in-time adaptive interventions.

The five-yearly Van Wijngaarden Award is named after Adriaan van Wijngaarden (1916–1987). Van Wijngaarden was directly involved in the introduction of the computer in the Netherlands and has been of invaluable importance for CWI. He is also one of the founders of computer science in the Netherlands and laid the foundation for several mainstream computer languages. Van Wijngaarden was the director of the Mathematical Center from 1961-1980, currently known as Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI). This year is the 75th anniversary year of CWI.

It is the fourth time the Van Wijngaarden Awards are presented. Previous awards went to Nancy Lynch and Persi Diaconis (2006), Éva Tardos and John Butcher (2011) and Sara van de Geer and Xavier Leroy (2016).

This year’s jury consisted of: Karen Aardal, Peter Apers, Jos Baeten (chair), Sander Bohté (secretary), Remco van der Hofstad and Rineke Verbrugge. Krzysztof Apt and Peter Grünwald will give the laudatio lecture about the winners in November.

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