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Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing


The Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing is named for Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (1930-2002), a pioneer in the area of distributed computing. His foundational work on concurrency primitives (such as the semaphore), concurrency problems (such as mutual exclusion and deadlock), reasoning about concurrent systems, and self-stabilization comprises one of the most important supports upon which the field of distributed computing is built. No other individual has had a larger influence on research in principles of distributed computing.

The prize is given for outstanding papers on the principles of distributed computing, whose significance and impact on the theory and/or practice of distributed computing has been evident for at least a decade. The Prize includes an award of $2000.

The Prize is sponsored jointly by the ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC) and the EATCS Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC). This award is presented annually, with the presentation taking place alternately at ACM PODC and EATCS DISC. The winners of the award will share the cash award, and each winning author will be presented with a plaque. An announcement of each year's prize recipient(s) will be included in the ACM PODC and EATCS DISC proceedings of that year, describing the paper's lasting contributions.

The winner of the Prize is selected by a committee of six members. The Award Committee will consist of the current PODC and DISC program chairs, the PODC program chairs from five and ten years ago, and the DISC program chairs from five and ten years ago. The Award Committee will be chaired alternatively by the current PODC and DISC program chairs.

If the resulting committee consists of less than six distinct members (because one of the specified program chairs is unable to serve on the committee or because a single person has served in the role of more than one of the specified program chairs), then the committee chair will nominate a replacement of similar stature for the approval of the PODC and DISC steering committees. The PODC and DISC steering committees shall be the final authority on the membership of the awards committee.

Nominations and Eligibility

At least four months prior to each year's PODC or DISC (whichever comes earlier), a Call for Nominations will be posted on the PODC and DISC mailing lists. Nominations may be made by any member of the scientific community. Each nomination must identify the paper being nominated and include a short paragraph (approximately 200 words) justifying the nomination. Papers appearing in any conference proceedings or journal are eligible, as long as they have had a significant impact on research areas of interest within the theory of distributed computing community, and as long as the year of the original publication is at least ten years prior to the year in which the award is given.

Papers authored or co-authored by members of the Award Committee will not be eligible for consideration. Members of the Award Committee will be especially sensitive to conflict-of-interests issues if papers by former students or close colleagues are nominated.

Please send your nomination to the Co-Chairs of the Award Committee, Nancy Lynch ( and/or Alex Shvartsman ( Please mind that the nominations deadline is June 1, 2010.

Selection Process

Although the Award Committee is encouraged to consult with the distributed computing community at large, the Award Committee is solely responsible for the selection of the winner of the award. The prize may be shared by more than one paper. All matters relating to the selection process that are not specified here are left to the discretion of the Award Committee.

Past Winners

Joseph Halpern and Yoram Moses for "Knowledge and Common Knowledge in a Distributed Environment," in Proceedings of the Third Annual ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC'84) pp. 50--61, 1984, and in the Journal of the ACM (JACM, 37:3).
Baruch Awerbuch and David Peleg for "Sparse Partitions," in Proceedings of the 31st Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), 503-513, October 1990.
Cynthia Dwork , Nancy Lynch and Larry Stockmeyer for "Consensus in the presence of partial synchrony", Journal of the ACM, Vol. 35, No. 2, April, 1988.
John M. Mellor-Crummey and Michael L. Scott for "Algorithms for scalable synchronization on shared-memory multiprocessors", ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 9(1), 1991.
Marshal Pease , Robert Shostak and Leslie Lamport for "Reaching agreement in the presence of faults", Journal of the Association of Computing Machinery, April, 1980, 27(1):228-234.
R. G. Gallager , P. A. Humblet and P. M. Spira for "A Distributed Algorithm for Minimum-Weight Spanning Trees", ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, January 1983, 5(1):66-77.
Maurice Herlihy for "Wait-Free Synchronization", ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, January 1991, 13(1):124-149.
Edsger W. Dijkstra for "Self-stabilizing systems in spite of distributed control", Communications of the ACM, 1974, 17(11):643-644.
Michael J. Fischer , Nancy A. Lynch and Michael S. Paterson for "Impossibility of Distributed Consensus with One Faulty Process", Journal of the ACM, April 1985, 32(2):374-382.
Leslie Lamport for "Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System", Communications of the ACM, July 1978, 21(7):558-565.

Award   Committee   2010
Nancy Lynch, Co-Chair MIT
Alex Shvartsman, Co-Chair U. of Connecticut
James Anderson U. of North Carolina
James Aspens Yale University
Pierre Fraigniaud CNRS, U. of Paris Sud
Richid Guerraoui EPFL, Switzerland
Maurice Herlihy Brown University