Professor Emmanuel Candès from Stanford University and Professor Terence Tao from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were the 2010 recipients of the George Pólya Prize, which was awarded at the Prizes and Awards Luncheon at the SIAM Annual Meeting held July 12-16 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The award recognizes their role in developing the theory of compressed sensing and matrix completion, which enables efficient reconstruction of sparse, high-dimensional data based on very few measurements. According to the selection committee, the algorithms and analysis are not only beautiful mathematics, worthy of study for their own sake, but they also lead to remarkable solutions of practical engineering problems.

Candès is Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Stanford University and the Ronald and Maxine Linde Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics at California Institute of Technology (on leave). He completed his PhD in 1998 under the supervision of Professor David Donoho at Stanford University. A past recipient of SIAM's James H. Wilkinson Prize in Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing, he serves on the editorial board of the SIAM Journal on Imaging Science.

Tao has been a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) since 1999 and was appointed to UCLA's James and Carol Collins Chair in the College of Letters and Science in 2007. He completed his PhD under Professor Elias M. Stein at Princeton University in 1996. In August 2006, he won the prestigious Fields Medal, often touted as the "Nobel Prize in mathematics."

George Pólya was one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. Given every two years in honor of Pólya, this SIAM prize recognizes alternately a notable application of combinatorial theory and a notable contribution to one of the other areas in Pólya's extensive repertoire: approximation theory, complex analysis, number theory, orthogonal polynomials, probability theory, and mathematical discovery and learning. First established in 1969, it was extended in scope in 1992 following a generous contribution from the estate of Stella V. Pólya. Candès and Tao received an engraved medal each and shared a cash award of $20,000.

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