Erik Demaine

Erik Demaine


Erik Demaine is a Professor in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Demaine's research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games. He received a MacArthur Fellowship as a “computational geometer tackling and solving difficult problems related to folding and bending—moving readily between the theoretical and the playful, with a keen eye to revealing the former in the latter”. He appears in the recent origami documentary Between the Folds, cowrote a book about the theory of folding (Geometric Folding Algorithms), and a book about the computational complexity of games (Games, Puzzles, and Computation). Together with his father Martin, his interests span the connections between mathematics and art, including curved-crease sculptures in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian.




  • Association for Computing Machinery: Fellow (2016)
  • American Craft Council: Rare Craft Fellowship Award (2016)
  • European Association for Theoretical Computer Science: Nerode Prize (2015)
  • EECS: Steven and Renee Finn Innovation Fellow (2013)
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: Fellow (2013)
  • European Association for Theoretical Computer Science: Presburger Award (2013)
  • Science Atlantic: Outstanding Student, Hall of Fame (2012)
  • Mathematical Association of America: Polya Lecturer (2011)
  • Smithsonian: Pieces in permanent collection (2011)
  • Mathematical Association of America: Polya Lecturer (2010)
  • Carnegie Mellon University and Tokyo University of Technology: Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize (2008)
  • Francqui Foundation: International Francqui Chair (2007)
  • Dalhousie University: Honorary Doctor of Laws (2007)
  • Sloan Foundation: Research Fellowship (2006)
  • MIT: Edgerton Award (2005)
  • MIT EECS: Spira Teaching Award (2004)
  • Popular Science: Brilliant 10 (2004)
  • National Science Foundation: Career Award (2004)
  • MacArthur Foundation: MacArthur Fellows Program (2003)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC): NSERC Doctoral Prize (2003)