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Tomasz KociumakaThe ERCIM Cor Baayen Award selection committee has unanimously selected Tomasz Kociumaka as the winner of the competition for the 2021 ERCIM Cor Baayen Young Researcher Award. Tomasz Kociumaka was nominated by the University of Warsaw, which awarded him a PhD in 2019. Tomasz then worked at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and he is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

In his short career as a young researcher, Tomasz has already published at the world’s most important conferences in theoretical computer science such as STOC, FOCS, and SODA. His research concerns fundamental issues in computer science and solves conjectures and problems that have remained unsolved for many years. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited more than 14 00 times, which is remarkable for a researcher working on theoretical aspects of computer science under three years after completing his PhD.

At a high level, Tomasz’s research interests lie in designing efficient algorithms for processing strings (arbitrary sequences of characters) and exploring the underlying combinatorial problems. This is a classic research area with a number of problems central to computer science, such as pattern matching or compression. But this also means that, after half a century of research, new developments that significantly contribute to these very natural problems are extremely hard to come by, rare, and only accessible to elite researchers. There is no doubt that Tomasz has found his place in this category, with multiple groundbreaking results achieved in the last six years.

It is very likely that Tomasz's work will lead to algorithms that are used in practice, as algorithms for processing large and often compressed data are ubiquitous in many applications. For example, a data structure proposed by Kempa and Kociumaka for processing the Longest Common Extensions queries (STOC'19) was implemented with a team of algorithm engineers at TU Dortmund (Dinklage, Fischer, Herlez, Kociumaka, Kurpicz), and a resulting paper (ESA'20) shows the practicality of the approach with appropriate fine-tuning and simplifying heuristics.

In summary, Tomasz Kociumaka clearly stands out from his generation of computer scientists. In his short career, he has already (co)-authored more than 90 publications, many of which have been presented at high-level conferences. He was a member of the programme committee of nine conferences and also serves the scientific community as an organiser of conferences, workshops, and programming competitions for high school students. The selection committee for the ERCIM Cor Baayen Young Researcher Award is proud to present the 2021 award to Tomasz Kociumaka, one of the most promising young researchers in the field of computer science or applied mathematics.

Cor Baayen Award 2021


  • Tomasz Kociumaka (IEOR Department, University of California, Berkeley, USA), nominated by Łukasz Kowalik (University of Warsaw)

Honorary mention:

  • Clara Stegehuis (Twente University, Department of Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), nominated by Ton de Kok (CWI)
  • Lucia Vadicamo (Institute for the Science and Technologies of Information, Italian National Council of Research - ISTI-CNR), nominated by Giuseppe Amato (ISTI-CNR)


  • Giulio Ermanno Pibiri (CNR) nominated by Raffaele Perego (CNR)
  • Christopher Krauß (Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems - FOKUS) nominated by Dieter Fellner (Fraunhofer ICT Group)
  • Johannes Späth (Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design IEM) nominated by Dieter Fellner (Fraunhofer ICT Group)
  • Elena Gaburro (Inria Bordeaux Sud-Ouest) nominated by Mario Ricchiuto (Inria)
  • Thomas Debris-Alazard (Inria) nominated by Jean-Yves Berthou (Inria)
  • Chiara Sironi (Maastricht University) nominated by Ton de Kok (CWI)

Evaluation Committee:
The Evaluation Committee was composed of Monica Divitini (NTNU - chair of the ERCIM Human Capital Task Group), Thierry Priol (Inria), Fabrizio Sebastiani (ISTI-CNR) and Jerzy Tiuryn (UWAW).
The decision was unanimous.

More information about the ERCIM Cor Baayen Young Researcher Award

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