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IMU Abacus Medal

The IMU Abacus Medal  is awarded once every 4 years at the International Congress of Mathematicians, for outstanding contributions in Mathematical Aspects of Information Sciences including:

All mathematical aspects of computer science, including complexity theory, logic of programming languages, analysis of algorithms, cryptography, computer vision, pattern recognition, information processing and modelling of intelligence.
Scientific computing and numerical analysis. Computational aspects of optimization and control theory. Computer algebra.
The IMU Abacus Medal Committee is chosen by the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union. A candidate's 40th birthday must not occur before January 1st of the year of the Congress at which the Medal is awarded.

The name of the Chair of the Committee is made public, but the names of other members of the Committee remain anonymous until the award of the medal at the Congress.

The IMU Abacus Medal is a continuation of the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize that was awarded from 1982 to 2018.

Statutes for the Abacus Medal

The details of the Award, the nomination, and the selection can be found in the Statutes for the Award.

Physical Medal

Obverse Reverse
  • Material
  • 14KT Gold
  • Diameter
  • 67 mm
  • Weight
  • 169 g
  • Thickness
  • 5–7 mm

The thematic motif for the medal is ”the Abacus Bird of the Mathematicians”, a creature in near abstract geometrical styling conceived by Aiha that has the ability to bear and fly with the beans of the abacus. Through the inclusion of the emblem of the bird, the artist wants to convey an emphasis of the human dimension of the prize and of mathematical work.
The relief on the flip side symbolizes disorder, bound together by a line representing an algorithm. The obverse will also include a signature of the creator (”MA 19”).
The name of the recipient will be engraved in the edge or in the reverse of the medal.

The Abacus Medal winners, chronologically listed

Former Prize Committees


  • James Demmel (chair)
    Annalisa Buffa
    Meena Mahajan
    Amit Singer
    Daniel Spielman

The IMU Abacus Medal is a continuation of the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize that was awarded from 1982 to 2018.
The first IMU Abacus Medal will be awarded at the IMU Award Ceremony 2022.