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Pascal Van Hentenryck was recently honored with a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Université catholique de Louvain in recognition of his fundamental contributions to constraint programming, his remarkable scientific and technological impact in the optimization field, as well as the industrial applications of his research. Along with Pascal, the other recipients of this honorary doctorate include Japan prize and Nobel Prize winner Professor Albert Fert, Turing Award winner Professor Ronald L. Rivest, and National Academy of Engineering member Professor John N. Tsitsiklis

“It is a wonderful honor,” said Pascal. “Louvain is one of the oldest universities in Europe and the largest French-speaking university in Belgium. Its engineering school is world-class and its multi-disciplinary center in econometrics and operations research features amazing scientists. The center has been emulated at various institutions in the United States. In the last two years, we have established a close collaboration between the optimization laboratories in computer science here at Brown and in computing science and engineering at Louvain and it is greatly satisfying to witness how this transatlantic initiative catalyzes a spirit of innovation and nurtures a global sense of community and excitement. Students love it.”

Before coming to Brown in 1990, Pascal spent four years at the European Computer-Industry Research Center (ECRC), where he was the main designer and implementer of the CHIP programming system, the foundation of all modern constraint programming systems. During the last 15 years, he developed a number of influential systems, including the Numerica system for global optimization, the optimization programming language OPL, and the programming language Comet, which supports both constraint-based local search and constraint programming. These systems are described in books published by the MIT Press and have been licensed to industry.

Pascal was previously a professor at the Université catholique de Louvain and a visiting professor at MIT and the University of Marseilles. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Namur (Belgium) for his work on the constraint programming language CHIP at ECRC.

Pascal is the recipient of a 1993 NSF National Young Investigator (NYI) award, the 2002 INFORMS ICS Award for research excellence at the interface between computer science and operations research, the 2006 ACP Award for Research Excellence in Constraint Programming, best paper awards at CP’03, CP’04, and IJCAI’07, and an IBM Faculty Award in 2004. He is the author of five books (all published by the MIT Press) and of more than 170 scientific papers. Pascal has an H-number of at least 38 in Google Scholar and his first MIT Press book has more than 1,000 citations.