Creativity and interdisciplinarity are watchwords for Pierre-Louis Curien's fundamental research in theoretical computer science, which has spawned a range of innovations and applications. Let's look back at the career of this researcher and winner of the Inria - French Academy of Sciences Grand Prize 2020.
Our story begins in the mid-1970s, just after Pierre-Louis Curien had graduated from the École Normale Supérieure in Ulm with an agrégation in mathematics. However, he was unsure about continuing along this path. "I was intimidated by all those maths wizards at the ENS," he admits, although he would go on to build bridges between algebra and computing throughout his career, revolutionising a number of concepts. "It wasn't until I met Maurice Gross, a linguist and computer scientist who pioneered electronic dictionaries, and Gérard Berry, another computer scientist who held the 'Algorithms, Machines and Languages' Chair at the Collège de France between 2012 and 2019, that I turned towards theoretical computer science, studying for a Ph.D. in λ-calculus [lambda calculus]."
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