Prof. Dr. Monika Henzinger receives prestigious Wittgenstein Prize

Prof. Dr. Monika Henzinger is the 2021 Wittgenstein Laureate. (Photo credit: FWF/Daniel Novotny)

I would like to thank the international jury and the FWF for this prestigious award. It provides further impetus and visibility to my research and to computer science in Austria. This is very valuable because we desperately need more talent to understand how our digital world functions—and how we can improve it as well. The award also shows that women can be highly successful in computer science and hopefully it will encourage more women to study computer science”, said Monika Henzinger in a first statement.

“I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Wittgenstein Award winner Monika Henzinger“, says Minister of Science Heinz Faßmann. “The ‘Austrian Nobel Prize’ gives scientists a great deal of freedom to conduct world-class research here in Austria and to build excellent teams. These are perfect conditions that can not only lead to important scientific discoveries, but also generate valuable momentum for Austria as a venue for innovation and research”, notes the Federal Minister.

“The Wittgenstein Award is the confirmation of a life devoted to outstanding research and in the case of Monika Henzinger we may well expect a lot more excellent research results still to come”, observes FWF President Christof Gattringer, pointing out the topicality of Henzinger's research: “Her research in computer science helps to protect the privacy of individuals when analysing large quantities of data. In our ever-increasingly digital world, this was already a big topic before corona, but now, with the collection of health data all over the world, the issue has become more relevant and important than ever before”, concludes Gattringer.

Wittgenstein Award Winner 2021: Algorithms for a better Internet

In her “Theory and Applications of Algorithms” research group at the University of Vienna, Monika Henzinger is specialising in designing algorithmic systems, among others, in the analysis of large quantities of data. Her areas of research include computer-aided verification, algorithmic systems based on graph theory, distributed and parallel computation, and algorithmic game theory. Recently, her research has focused on differential privacy whereby personal information is verifiably protected among large quantities of data.

The Wittgenstein Jury is composed of 13 leading researchers, among them, two Nobel Prize winners, Bruce Beutler (2011, Physiology/Medicine) and Stefan Hell (2014, Chemistry). The chairperson of the jury is Janet Wolff, University of Manchester, UK. You can find the members of the international START/Wittgenstein here online.