In Memoriam, Professor Piotr Rudnicki

The Faculty of Science mourns the loss of Professor Piotr Rudnicki of the Department of Computing Science.

News Staff - 19 November 2012

Piotr passed away November 17, 2012 at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer.

He received his PhD in Technical Sciences (Department of Civil Engineering, Laboratory of Informatics) from the Warsaw University of Technology in 1979. Then in 1984, he joined the University of Alberta where he was a professor at the Department of Computing Science for 28 years.

At the beginning of his career, in Poland, he was involved in the initial stages of the Mizar project. This project - with the goals of designing a language for recording mathematics and building a library of mechanically verified mathematics - became his primary research interest, especially as it relates to proving the correctness of algorithms, software, and hardware. Piotr was one of the builders of the Mizar system itself, and he maintained the system and contributed many articles to the Mizar Mathematical Library and to conferences and journals over the years. The Mizar project now involves hundreds of people.

Piotr was a committed teacher and mentor who believed in pushing students to their intellectual limits to give them a chance to discover their talents. He coached the U of A programming teams from 1997-2008 and, in those eleven years, his University of Alberta teams qualified for the World Finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contests nine times, winning three bronze medals and achieving two other top-fifteen finishes. In 2010, he started a Saturday morning computing club, where he coached high school students in problem solving and programming.

Piotr was a man of principle, wit, and intelligence. His keen observations never failed to get to the heart of the matter, and usually led to lively discussions about big issues. We mourn his loss.