Patrick C. Fischer Professorship Symposium

You are cordially invited to attend a Symposium to celebrate the establishment of the Patrick C. Fischer Professorship in Theoretical Computer Science at the University of Michigan, which was made possible through a generous gift by Professor Charlotte Fischer.

The Symposium will feature lectures from three prominent computer scientists who will offer their perspectives and discuss recent advances in the field of theoretical computer science.

Ronitt Rubinfeld
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tel Aviv University
Russell Impagliazzo
Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, University
of California, San Diego
Sanjeev Arora
Charles C. Fitzmorris Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University

The program for the Symposium is here.

Patrick C. Fischer

An expert in computational complexity, interactive database systems, and informational systems for education institutions, Patrick C. Fischer's work in theoretical computer science helped make Internet searches possible.

Born in St. Louis, Fischer grew up in Ann Arbor, where his father taught math at the University of Michigan. He attended Michigan, where he earned a BS in Mathematics in 1957 and an MBA in Actuarial Science in 1958. He earned his PhD in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a thesis on the subject of recursion theory.

After teaching at Harvard, Cornell, Waterloo, and Pennsylvania State University, serving also as Chair at the latter two, Professor Fischer was appointed Chair of the computer science department at Vanderbilt University in 1980. There he served as Chair of computer science until 1995 and retired in 1998.

Professor Fischer was an early leader in the field of computational complexity, and helped establish theoretical computer science as a discipline separate from mathematics and electrical engineering. He was the first chair of SIGACT, the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory of the Association for Computing Machinery, which he founded in 1968. He also founded the annual Symposium on Theory of Computing, which is one of the two flagship conferences in theoretical computer science, and he served five times as chair of the conference.

In the 1980s, Professor Fischer's research focused on database theory, and his work in that realm included the study of the semantics of databases, metadata, and incomplete information. Professor Fischer did important work defining the nested relational model of databases, in which the values in the cells of a relational database may themselves be relations, and his work on the mathematical foundations of database query languages became central to the databases now used by major web servers worldwide. Professor Fischer was also an expert in information systems and their use by educational institutions.