Concept

Martin Davis (mathematician)

Summary
Martin David Davis (March 8, 1928 – January 1, 2023) was an American mathematician and computer scientist who made significant contributions to the fields of computability theory and mathematical logic. He is best known for his work on Hilbert's tenth problem leading to the MRDP theorem. He also advanced the Post-Turing Model and co-developed the Davis–Putnam–Logemann–Loveland (DPLL) algorithm which is foundational for Boolean satisfiability solvers. Davis was a winner of the Leroy P. Steele Prize, the Chauvenet Prize (with Reuben Hersh), and the Lester R. Ford Award. Furthermore, he was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Davis's parents were Jewish immigrants to the United States from Łódź, Poland, and married after they met again in New York City. Davis was born in New York City on March 8, 1928. He grew up in the Bronx, where his parents encouraged him to obtain a full education. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from City College in 1948 and his PhD from Princeton University in 1950. His doctoral dissertation, entitled On the Theory of Recursive Unsolvability, was supervised by American mathematician and computer scientist Alonzo Church. During a research instructorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the early 1950s, he joined the Control Systems Lab and became one of the early programmers of the ORDVAC. He later worked at Bell Labs and the RAND Corporation before joining New York University. During his time at the NYU, he helped set up the university's computer science department. He retired from NYU in 1996. He was later a member of visiting faculty at University of California, Berkeley. Davis first worked on Hilbert's tenth problem during his PhD dissertation, working with Alonzo Church. The theorem, as posed by the German mathematician David Hilbert, asks a question: given a Diophantine equation, is there an algorithm that can decide if the equation is solvable? Davis's dissertation put forward a conjecture that the problem was unsolvable.
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