Peter Williston Shor (born August 14, 1959) is an American professor of applied mathematics at MIT. He is known for his work on quantum computation, in particular for devising Shor's algorithm, a quantum algorithm for factoring exponentially faster than the best currently-known algorithm running on a classical computer.

Peter Shor
Peter Shor 2017 Dirac Medal Award Ceremony.png
Peter Shor speaking
after receiving the 2017 Dirac Medal
Born (1959-08-14) August 14, 1959 (age 62)
Alma mater
Known forShor's algorithm
Shor code
CSS code
SMAWK algorithm
Stabilizer code
Quantum threshold theorem
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science, applied mathematics
ThesisRandom planar matching and bin packing (1985)
Doctoral advisorTom Leighton


While attending Tamalpais High School, in Mill Valley, California, he placed third in the 1977 USA Mathematical Olympiad.[9] After graduation that year, he won a silver medal at the International Math Olympiad in Yugoslavia (the U.S. team achieved the most points per country that year).[10][11] He received his B.S. in Mathematics in 1981 for undergraduate work at Caltech,[12] and was a Putnam Fellow in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from MIT in 1985.[13] His doctoral advisor was F. Thomson Leighton, and his thesis was on probabilistic analysis of bin-packing algorithms.


After being awarded his Ph.D. by MIT, he spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and then accepted a position at Bell Labs in New Providence, New Jersey. It was there he developed Shor's algorithm, for which he was awarded the Nevanlinna Prize at the 23rd International Congress of Mathematicians in 1998 [14][15] and the Gödel Prize in 1999.[16] In 1999 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.[17] In 2017 he received the Dirac Medal of the ICTP and for 2019 the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences.[18]

Shor began his MIT position in 2003. Currently, he is the Henry Adams Morss and Henry Adams Morss, Jr. Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at MIT. He also is affiliated with CSAIL and the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics (CTP).

He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Caltech in 2007.[12]

On October 1, 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[19][20] He was elected as an ACM Fellow in 2019 "for contributions to quantum-computing, information theory, and randomized algorithms".[21] He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.[22] In 2020, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for pioneering contributions to quantum computation.[23]

In an interview published in Nature on October 30, 2020, Shor said that he considers post-quantum cryptography to be a solution to the quantum threat, although a lot of engineering effort is required to switch from vulnerable algorithms.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Mathematical Association of America's William Lowell Putnam Competition". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  2. ^ "Fields Medalists / Nevanlinna Price (sic) Winner 1998". International Mathematical Union. 2006-08-22. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  3. ^ "Fellows List - July 1999". John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Archived from the original on 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  4. ^ Parberry, Ian (1999-05-10). "1999 Gödel Prize". ACM SIGACT. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  5. ^ "2002 King Faisal International Prizes for Science Announced". King Faisal Foundation.
  6. ^ "ICS Prize". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06.
  7. ^ Dirac Medal of ICTP 2017
  8. ^ List of IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award Recipients
  9. ^ Murray Klamkin (Editor). Mathematical Association of America (January 1989). USA Mathematical Olympiads 1972-1986 Problems and Solutions (Anneli Lax New Mathematical Library), ISBN 0-88385-634-4 ISBN 978-0-88385-634-5, accessed May 10, 2007
  10. ^ Mill Valley Historical Society, 2004, 'History of Homestead Valley' Archived 2006-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Stephen R. Dunbar, 'Identifying Talent: American Mathematics Competitions,' in Mathematical Association of America, Focus, Vol 24, Issue 3, March 2004, p 29
  12. ^ a b "2007 Recipients". Distinguished Alumni Award. Caltech Alumni Association. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  13. ^ Shor, Peter Williston (September 1985). Random Planar Matching and Bin Packing (Ph.D. thesis). MIT. OCLC 14107348.
  14. ^ Jackson, Allyn (November 1998). "Peter Shor Receives Nevanlinna Prize" (PDF). Notices of the AMS: 1361.
  15. ^ Shor, Peter (1998). "Quantum computing". Doc. Math. (Bielefeld) Extra Vol. ICM Berlin, 1998, vol. I. pp. 467–486.
  16. ^ Parberry, Ian (10 May 1999). "1999 Gödel Prize — Peter W. Shor".
  17. ^ Peter W. Shor – Computer Science, Class of 1999, MacArthur Foundation
  18. ^ BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award 2019
  19. ^ Academy Members: 1780-present (PDF). Cambridge, Massachusetts: American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 2011. p. 502.
  20. ^ "2011 Members and Their Affiliations" (PDF). American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  21. ^ 2019 ACM Fellows Recognized for Far-Reaching Accomplishments that Define the Digital Age, Association for Computing Machinery, retrieved 2019-12-11
  22. ^ "Peter Shor". Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  23. ^ "Dr. Peter W. Shor". NAE Website. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  24. ^ Casteivecchi, Davide, Quantum-computing pioneer warns of complacency over Internet security, Nature, October 30, 2020 interview of Peter Shor

External linksEdit

Lectures and panels