Subhash Khot was named in March to receive the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award winner. Given annually to an outstanding young researcher, the prize includes $500,000 in funding for three years for scientific research or advanced study in any field of science.

An associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, Khot was lauded for his research in an area known as computational complexity. According to the director of the NSF, Arden Bement Jr, Khot “courageously tackles some of the most challenging computational problems, all the while advancing computer security, with vast consequences for the broader security of our personal identities, commercial interests, societal institutions . . . even for national security as a whole.”

As a theoretical computer scientist, Khot is recognized for his Unique Games Conjecture. Jennette Wing, the assistant director for NSF’s Computer Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate, noted that Khot he has made significant strides in computational complexity and Khot’s work forms connections among optimization, computer science and mathematics.

Prior to the Waterman Award, Khot received the NSF CAREER Award for “New Directions in Inapproximability and Probabilistically Checkable Proofs” in 2007-2008, a Sloan Foundation fellowship in 2006 and a Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship in the previous year.

As a member of a team that includes researchers from New York University, Rutgers University, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Khot is involved in a project to further the understanding of computational intractability-the existence of problems that cannot be solved quickly. His research, which could have wide-reaching benefits in science and engineering, is supported by a $10 million NSF “Expeditions in Computing” grant.

Khot received his PhD in computer science from Princeton University in 2003.He earned his bachelor’s degree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. From 2004 to 2007, before joining the faculty at NYU, Khot was an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology