Thursday, February 3, 2022

[DMANET] A Tribute to Professor Takao Nishizeki

With great sorrow and a heavy heart, I am sharing the sad news that Professor Takao Nishizeki, Professor Emeritus at Tohoku University, passed away on January 30, 2022.

Professor Takao Nishizeki was born in Fukushima, northeastern part of Japan, in 1947. He received the B. E., M. E. and D. E. degrees in electrical communication engineering from Tohoku University, one of the most prominent universities in Japan, in 1969, 1971 and 1974, respectively. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty at Tohoku University, where in 1988 he was appointed to the professorship.

Professor Nishizeki established himself as a world leader in the computer science, in particular, algorithms for planar graphs, edge coloring, network flows, VLSI routing, graph drawing and cryptography. Prof. Nishizeki has made significant contributions to algorithms for series–parallel graphs, finding cliques in sparse graphs, planarity testing and the secret sharing with any access structure. He is the co-author of two books "Planar Graphs: Theory and Algorithms" and "Planar Graph Drawing". Both books are considered as the most valuable pioneering work of planar graphs and planar graph drawings and have been widely distributed over the world. Professor Nishizeki served in the editorial board of Algorithmica, Journal of Combinatorial Optimization, Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, Journal of Information Processing, Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications, Transections of IEICEJ, Journal of IEICJ.

As the most active and renowned computer scientist in Asia, Professor Nishizeki also made a great contribution to build a community of computer science in the Asia and Pacific region. In 1990 he founded the International Symposium on Algorithms and Computation (ISAAC) for the purpose of expanding the research community among the Asian and Pacific countries. He was a founding steering committee member of Graph Drawing (GD) and International Conference and Workshops on Algorithms and Computation (WALCOM).

In 1996, he became a life fellow of the IEEE "for contributions to graph algorithms with applications to physical design of electronic systems." In 1996 he was selected as a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery "for contributions to the design and analysis of efficient algorithms for planar graphs, network flows and VLSI routing". Prof. Nishizeki was also a foreign fellow of the <> Bangladesh Academy of Sciences and contributed significantly to the computer science education and research in Bangladesh.

For his great achievements in computer science, Professor Nishizeki was awarded the ICF Best Research Award by the International Communications Foundation in 2006. He received the prestigious Information Science Promotion Award by Funai Foundation for Information Technology in 2003 and TELECOM Technology Award by the Telecommunication Advancement Foundation in 1998.

Professor Nishizeki was actively associated with world leading researchers, constantly invited by major universities over the world. Among them are Carnegie Mellon University and UC Berkeley in the United Sates, Waterloo University and Simon-Fraser University in Canada, Bonn University and TU Berlin in Germany, University of Sydney in Australia, Taiwan National University and Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He was also a Visiting Research Mathematician at Carnegie-Mellon University from 1977 to 1978, and has been serving as an advisory professor of East China Normal University in Shanghai from 2006.

Professor Nishizeki was very popular among his students for his innovative teaching methodology. He awarded 28 Ph.D degrees and many of his students have established themselves in academia and industry.

Professor Nishizeki is no longer with us, but his values, teachings and research contributions will survive years after years for the benefit of mankind.

Dr. Md. Saidur Rahman
(A student of Professor Takao Nishizeki)
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
ECE Building, BUET
West Palashi
Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh

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