Jacob T. Schwartz

I first met Academician Andrei P. Ershov at the Moscow International Congress of Mathematicians in 1966. I was at once impressed, not only by his extraordinarily broad view of computer science, but by the remarkable scientific and personal energy and leadership which was so evident in him. Our initial contact subsequently developed into an active collaboration stretching over the next few years on the use and optimisation of high level specification languages in programming. This area of research, together with the optimisation technology closely associated with it, was of active interest to both of us and became central to our collaboration, For myself and my colleagues at New York University, this became the occasion for repeated scientifically simulating visits to the remarkable group of young optimisation theorists that Prof. Ershov had built at Novosibirsk, and a chance to become closely familiar with the important machine independent compiler optimisation techniques which they were developing. We had in turn the pleasure of hosting Prof. Ershov and some of his Novosibirsk colleagues at New York University, where work on a compiler for the SETL specification language, paralleling Novosibirsk work initiated by Andrei Petrovich, was actually in progress.

A high point of this period of active visiting back and forth came in 1972, when as chairman of the 1972 All—USA Spring Joint Computer Conference in Atlantic City I had the good fortune to be able to invite Andrei Petrovich as a keynote speaker. The brilliant lecture he gave on that occasion has remained in the memory of all those who heard it or read it subsequently as a far-seeing statement of the responsibilities of computer scientists and the role of computer science in society. This address was the subject of much comment on and gratification to his many friends in the U. S. computer science community.

Andrei Petrovich impressed me, as he did all those with whom he came in contact, as one of those rare, but admirable, indeed essential, persons able to dispel difficulties by quiet strength, unshakeable firmness of character, pragmatic straightforwardness of approach to all subjects, and absolute justice. His tragic illness began just at a time when his contributions to the scientific life and technical development of the Soviet Union and internationally were expanding rapidly. Had this not befallen him, he would undoubtedly have come to play a mayor role in the active efforts of technical and social reconstruction now in progress, in which he obviously would have taken a profound personal satisfaction. His loss is deeply felt by all his friends worldwide, who will remember his noble personality with an abiding affection.

Schwartz J.,  Prof.

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