The Computer Scientist Who Parlays Failures Into Breakthroughs

Mordechai Rorvig in Quanta:

Nestled among the impressive domes and spires of Yale University is the simple office of Daniel Spielman. His shelves are lined with tall black notebooks, containing decades of handwritten notes, and against a wall sits a large, comfortable couch that looks particularly well used.

“I’m sort of built for sitting still and thinking,” he admitted.

What he thinks about, amid the gothic grandeur of the campus, is a slightly more modern topic: computer science. And over his career, Spielman has produced a slew of influential results, although as he describes it, failure has been his most common outcome. “The key point is you have to enjoy the process of working,” he said. “As long as I enjoy that process, then it’s OK — as long as there’s success once in a while.”

Spielman first came to Yale as an undergraduate before attending graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate in 1995.

More here.