The EMET Prize is awarded to Prof. Michael Oser Rabin for his extraordinary achievements in a variety of fields: Automata theory, computational complexity, probabilistic algorithms and encryption theory. His work has defined the most significant trends of research in computer science since the field was founded. His influence and international status have greatly contributed to advancing Israel’s standing as a leading world center of computer science and knowledge-intensive industries. Professor Rabin is one of the giants in Computer Science and belongs to the handful of the greatest scientists in this field since A. Turing.
Professor Michael Rabin was born in 1931 in Breslau. His father, Dr. Israel Abraham Rabin, Rector of the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary, and his mother Dr. Esther Rabin, were among the leaders of the Mizrachi Zionist movement in Germany and later in Israel.
During the War of Independence he served in the artillery corps on the northern and southern fronts. Upon his discharge he commenced studies in mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focusing on mathematical logic and algebra, and first encountered the work of Alan Turing on the theory of computation. Rabin understood the significance of this work as a scientific foundation for computer technology, which was taking form in those years. Consequently, he pursued doctoral studies at Princeton University under the guidance of Alonzo Church, who together with Turing laid down the foundation of computational theory.
Pursuing the creation of a scientific foundation for computer technology, Rabin worked in the summers of 1957–1958 at the IBM Research Center and published two works that were to become cornerstones in computer science. Over the years he has been involved in algorithm theory, inventing randomized algorithms and numerous other innovations in the field including logical tools that play a central role in computer program verification theory. In recent years he invented an encryption method that is provably unbreakable.
His many prizes include the Israel Prize and the ACM A.M. Turing Prize, the world’s most prestigious prize for computer science. He was elected to five leading academies and holds five honorary degrees.
At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rabin established the Institute of Computer Science and the Leibniz Center for Research in Computer Science. In 1972 he was elected as the University’s Rector, serving in this post during the Yom-Kippur War until 1975. Since 1984 he has also taught, in addition to the Hebrew University, at Harvard University.Rabin has held advisory posts and has been a visiting professor at many leading universities.