Wilhelm Ackermann

The Ackermann Award is the EACSL Outstanding Dissertation Award for Logic in Computer Science. It is presented during the annual conference of the EACSL (CSL’xx).

From 2010 to 2016, the Award has been sponsored by the Kurt Gödel Society.
For the three years 2007-2009, the Award was sponsored by Logitech, S.A., Romanel, Switzerland, the world’s leading provider of personal peripherals.

Wilhelm Ackermann

Wilhelm Ackermann was born on March 29, 1896 and died on December 24, 1962.

His logic textbook, “Grundzüge der Theoretischen Logik” written together with David Hilbert and first published in 1928, was the most influential textbook in the formative years of mathematical logic. Its fourth edition was published in 1959. The book was translated into several languages.

Ackermann did not pursue an academic career. Nevertheless he continued his research work and helped to shape mathematical logic as a tool of scientific investigations.

His work includes investigations in
a) the consistency of arithmetic and other comprehensive mathematical systems;
b) strengthening of strict implication;
c) recursive functions;
d) decision problems of predicate logic.

Every Computer Science student knows the Ackermann function, a recursive function (given by a simple recursive definition) which is provably not primitive recursive. But computer scientists are less aware of his other contributions. Gödel’s completeness theorem proves the completeness of the system presented and proved sound by Hilbert and Ackermann. Ackermann was also the main contributor to the logical system known as the epsilon calculus, originally due to Hilbert. Finally, Ackermann solved the decision problem for $\exists^* \forall \exists^*$-formulas positively. A pioneer of logic, he left his mark in shaping logic and the theory of computation. Several of his papers discussed topics which were later further developed in papers presented at the LICS and EACSL conferences.

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