2008 ACM-SIGACT Distinguished Service Prize
Richard M. Karp

Richard (Dick) Karp is without doubt best known for his stellar career as a theoretical computer scientist---a career that has been recognized formally through numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Turing Award.

Less known, but perhaps just as influential, are his contributions to the welfare of SIGACT and theoretical computer science in general. For nearly four decades, Dick has been a leader in service to his profession. His generous donations of time and his well-considered advice have in many ways shaped the theoretical computer science community as we know it today.

Dick has chaired three STOC and FOCS program committees and served on over a dozen other diverse program committees, including ICALP, SODA, SPAA, RECOMB, RANDOM, COCOON, IPCO, and ISMP. He has served on the committees of all of the major ACM/SIGACT theory prizes---the Turing Award, Lawler Award, Gòˆdel Prize, Kanellakis Prize, and ACM Distinguished Dissertation Award. Beyond theoretical computer science he has organized conferences and served on advisory panels and prize committees for such organizations as the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Programming Society, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the International Federation of Information Societies.

Of particular note, in his role as chair of the SIGACT Committee for the Advancement of Theoretical Computer Science from 2005 to 2007, Dick led a concerted effort to raise awareness of the contributions and importance of theoretical computer science among the general public and to promote the SIGACT community to funding agencies. In 2007 Dick became a board member of the Computing Community Consortium and Chair of the NSF CISE Advisory Committee. These activities have already begun to bear fruit in increased funding opportunities at NSF for theoretical computer scientists.

In summary, it is hard to imagine how a single individual could contribute more to the well-being of theoretical computer science. In making this award, SIGACT recognizes Dick's invaluable contributions and thanks him for his tireless efforts. Dick is an inspiring role model for the entire SIGACT community in service to the profession.