Hillel Furstenberg of Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Yale University's Gregory Margulis share this year's Abel Prize in mathematics for trailblazing work in probability and dynamics. Both researchers' work demonstrated the application of probability for solving abstract problems.
Furstenberg's doctoral thesis at Princeton University explored whether a full history of some measurements or a sequence of numbers could help indicate what would happen next, and he demonstrated that a dynamical system where snapshots reproduced the numerical sequence could achieve this. Margulis' work included devising a procedure for designing connected networks, known as expander graphs.
The procedure also can be useful in creating error correction algorithms, random number generators, and cryptography.
From The New York Times
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