UW Professor Ming Li Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Graphics by Heather Ecobichon

UW professor Ming Li received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award in Computer Science from CS-Can|Info-Can, a non-profit organization representing the computer science discipline across Canada. The award, granted annually since 2014, is bestowed upon faculty members who have attained  “outstanding and sustained achievement in research, teaching and service,” according to the Cheriton School of Computer Science website.

This achievement was celebrated by UW faculty and students, including Jacqueline Li, Chair of the Undergraduate Women in Computer Science committee. “Congratulations to Professor Li on the lifetime achievement award! He shows us that hard work and dedication can lead to the achievement of great things. It’s inspiring and makes me proud to be a student studying computer science at UW,” she said. 

Li joined UW in 1988, after completing a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a postdoctoral fellowship from Harvard University. He was designated “University Professor” in 2009 and won the Killam Prize the following year for his contributions to computer science. 

His contributions to computer science include developments in modern information theory and computational biology. Li and his colleagues introduced Kolmogorov complexity into computer science. Kolmogorov complexity “provides a universal measure of information, information content, and randomness,” according to the university’s daily bulletin. Visit Cheriton School of Computer Science website for more information about Kolmogorov complexity .

In addition to being a professor, Li is the Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Li is the eighth faculty member of the Cheriton School of Computer Science to win the Lifetime Achievement award from CS-Can|Info-Can.


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