He was born in Pomona, California. His father, raised in Hungary, was a child psychiatrist, specializing in mental retardation, and ran a state hospital. As a child, Tarjan read a lot of science fiction, and wanted to be an astronomer. He became interested in mathematics after reading Martin Gardner's mathematical games column in Scientific American. He became seriously interested in math in the eighth grade, thanks to a "very stimulating" teacher.
While he was in high school, Tarjan got a job, where he worked IBM punch card collators. He first worked with real computers while studying astronomy at the Summer Science Program in 1964.
Tarjan obtained a Bachelor's degree in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1969. At Stanford University, he received his master's degree in computer science in 1971 and a Ph.D. in computer science (with a minor in mathematics) in 1972. At Stanford, he was supervised by Robert Floyd and Donald Knuth, both highly prominent computer scientists, and his Ph.D. dissertation was An Efficient Planarity Algorithm. Tarjan selected computer science as his area of interest because he believed that computer science was a way of doing mathematics that could have a practical impact.
Computer science careerEdit
Tarjan has been teaching at Princeton University since 1985. He has also held academic positions at Cornell University (1972–73), University of California, Berkeley (1973–1975), Stanford University (1974–1980), and New York University (1981–1985). He has also been a fellow of the NEC Research Institute (1989–1997). In April 2013 he joined Microsoft Research Silicon Valley in addition to the position at Princeton. In October 2014 he rejoined Intertrust Technologies as chief scientist.
Tarjan has worked at AT&T Bell Labs (1980–1989), Intertrust Technologies (1997–2001, 2014–present), Compaq (2002) and Hewlett Packard (2006–2013).
Tarjan holds at least 18 U.S. patents. These include:
J. Bentley, D. Sleator, and R. E. Tarjan, U. S. Patent 4,796,003, Data Compaction, 1989
N. Mishra, R. Schreiber, and R. E. Tarjan, U. S. Patent 7,818,272, Method for discovery of clusters of objects in an arbitrary undirected graph using a difference between a fraction of internal connections and maximum fraction of connections by an outside object, 2010
B. Pinkas, S. Haber, R. E. Tarjan, and T. Sander, U. S. Patent 8220036, Establishing a secure channel with a human user, 2012
According to Google Scholar he has published over 500 research papers which have been cited over 80,000 times.
^"Jewish Recipients of the ACM A.M. Turing Award". jinfo.org.
^ abShasha, Dennis Elliott; Lazere, Cathy A. (1998) . "Robert E. Tarjan: In Search of Good Structure". Out of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists. Copernicus/Springer. pp. 102–119. ISBN 978-0-387-97992-2. OCLC 32240355.
^"Robert Tarjan: The Art of the Algorithm". Hewlett-Packard. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
^"Robert Endre Tarjan". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
^ abTarjan, Robert Endre (November 15, 2019). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-11-23. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
^ ab"Robert Endre Tarjan: The art of the algorithm (interview)". Hewlett-Packard. September 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
^ abcdeKing, V. "Robert E Tarjan — A.M. Turing Award Laureate". ACM. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
^Kocay, William; Kreher, Donald L (2005). "Planar Graphs". Graphs, algorithms, and optimization. Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall/CRC. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-58488-396-8. OCLC 56319851.
^Bentley, Jon L.; Sleator, Daniel D. K.; Tarjan, Robert E. (January 3, 1989). "United States Patent 4796003 — Data compaction".
^Nina, Mishra; Schreiber, Robert Samuel; Robert E., Tarjan (October 19, 2010). "United States Patent 7818272 — Method for discovery of clusters of objects in an arbitrary undirected graph using a difference between a fraction of internal connections and maximum fraction of connections by an outside object".
^Pinkas, Binyamin; Haber, Stuart A.; Tarjan, Robert E.; Sander, Tomas (July 10, 2012). "United States Patent 8220036 — Establishing a secure channel with a human user".
^Tarjan, Robert (1972-06-01). "Depth-First Search and Linear Graph Algorithms". SIAM Journal on Computing. 1 (2): 146–160. doi:10.1137/0201010. ISSN 0097-5397.
^Fredman, Michael L.; Tarjan, Robert Endre (1987-07-01). "Fibonacci heaps and their uses in improved network optimization algorithms". Journal of the ACM. 34 (3): 596–615. doi:10.1145/28869.28874. ISSN 0004-5411. S2CID 7904683.
^"Back Matter". Data Structures and Network Algorithms: 125–131. January 1983. doi:10.1137/1.9781611970265.bm. ISBN 978-0-89871-187-5.
^Goldberg, Andrew V.; Tarjan, Robert E. (1988-10-01). "A new approach to the maximum-flow problem". Journal of the ACM. 35 (4): 921–940. doi:10.1145/48014.61051. ISSN 0004-5411. S2CID 14492800.
Tarjan, Robert E. (1983). Data structures and network algorithms. Philadelphia: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. ISBN 978-0-89871-187-5. OCLC 10120539.
Tarjan, Robert E.; Pólya, George; Woods, Donald R. (1983). Notes on introductory combinatorics. Boston: Birkhauser. ISBN 978-0-8176-3170-3. OCLC 10018128.