Distinguished Professor-at-large Andrew Chi-Chih Yao Selected 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureate

Andrew Chi Chih Yao

Professor Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Distinguished Professor-at-large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), world renowned computer scientist, has recently been selected 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureate, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to computation and communication.

“I feel deeply honoured to be named as recipient of the Kyoto prize in Advanced Technology by the Inamori Foundation this year. Dr. Kazuo Inamori dedicates himself to the betterment of mankind, and stressed the essential roles for both science and humanities in moving toward that goal. His vision touches me profoundly. The Foundation recognises achievements that are considered exemplary in this regard, and I am thrilled to join the list of distinguished laureates who have received this honour. I am most grateful to receive the Kyoto prize, and eagerly look forward to playing a part in advancing the Inamori Foundation’s vision for the future,” said Professor Yao in his acceptance remarks.

Professor Yao is currently Dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences, Tsinghua University. In 2000, he was the recipient of the ACM A.M Turing Award, which is generally recognised as the highest distinction in computer science. He joined CUHK as Distinguished Professor-at-large in 2005. Professor Yao completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics at Harvard University in 1972, and then a second PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1975.

For nearly half a century, Professor Yao has constructed innovative theoretical models for computation and communication. His research has influenced cutting-edge computer science in multiple fields, including security, privacy, parallel computing, big data processing, and quantum computing.

Professor Yao introduced the concept of communication complexity, a measure of the difficulty of a computational problem in terms of the communication load and provided a novel method for its analysis. These works provided a theoretical foundation for many important models such as circuit complexity, parallel and distributed computing, data structures and stream computing. Subsequently, Professor Yao’s research has evolved into theories that consider the security and privacy of communications. He contributed to a theoretical definition of complete security (i.e., the Dolev-Yao model) for information and communication systems using public-key cryptography, which was being increasingly utilised around the early 1980s, and he provided the standard model of evaluating the security of communication methods, which bears significance for cryptography and computational theory.

He examined a mathematically complete model for communication-based secure computation protocols, and proposed an innovative secure computational method facilitating secure computation by many individuals, while preserving the privacy of the information pertaining to each individual. These concepts and models are most evident in areas such as e-commerce and crypto-asset management. Moreover, Professor Yao’s concept and principle of quantum communication complexity enable quantitative performance evaluation of quantum computing.


About Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize(京都賞) is an international award presented to individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of science and technology, as well as the arts and philosophy. This internationally renowned award was born out of the sincere wish of Dr. Kazuo Inamori to “contribute to the progress of the future of humanity while maintaining a balance between the development of science and civilization and the enrichment of the human spirit.”