Philippe Flajolet, 1 December 1948--22 March 2011

I can't describe the sadness. Or the joy for having known this wonderful wonderful wonderful man. This page collects thoughts, links and pictures (mostly my own).

Here was my first reaction on my site, five minutes after I learned the news: March 22, 2011. I do not care about the world today. Philippe Flajolet died this afternoon. My heart is in the gutter. Why is it that the nicest, smartest, most generous guys have to go first?

On my Facebook, I wrote: March 22, 2011---a day I will never forget. The world can go to hell. My friend, my brother, Philippe Flajolet just died. He was the guy I always wanted to be but never will be. Infinitely smart, generous, funny, radical, unconventional, creative, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,.... Thank you Philippe.

Bob Sedgewick and Wojtek Spankowski wrote this for the AofA community: The world has lost a brilliant and productive mathematician. Philippe's untimely passing means that many things may never be known. But his legacy is a coterie of followers passionately devoted to Philippe and his mathematics who will carry on. Our conferences will include a toast to Philippe, our research will build upon his work, our papers will include the inscription 'Dedicated to the memory of Philippe Flajolet', and we will teach generations to come. Dear friend, we miss you so very much, but rest assured that your spirit will live on in our work.

Philippe wrote this about himself on his web site: Does research. Smokes. Battles administration. Smokes. Wishes he could stop battling administration so that he could have more time to do research. Smokes some more. Gives jobs to starving foreigners. Eats occassionally.

This text by Brigitte Vallée was prepared for Le Monde, 25 March 2011:

 
Scientifique d'exception, mathématicien et informaticien tout à la fois,
 
Philippe FLAJOLET,
Directeur de Recherche à  l'INRIA,
d'argent du CNRS,
membre de l'académie des Sciences,
  
est décédé brutalement le 22 mars 2011, d'un cancer foudroyant.
   
Brigitte Vallée,
responsable du Groupe de Recherche ''Informatique Mathématique'' (GdR IM) du CNRS,
le comité de direction du GdR,
les responsables des seize  Groupes de Travail du GdR,
tous les membres du GdR,
et,   en particulier,  tous les membres du Groupe de Travail Alea, qu'il a fondé,
    
témoignent  de son imagination puissante,  et  de son immense culture
scientifique, qui lui permettaient  la confrontation fructueuse des
domaines, de son exigence scientifique, forte et généreuse.  Philippe a
fondé une école  autour de lui, à la fois en France et dans le monde,
à laquelle il a su insuffler son dynamisme et ses valeurs scientifiques.
     
Il a oeuvré aussi depuis plus de vingt-cinq ans é la fondation, puis é la
consolidation  de l'interface entre mathématiques et informatique. Nous
sommes  maintenant ses héritiers, et  nous nous souvenons aussi  tout
simplement  de l'homme, avec  sa chaleur humaine et son amour de la vie.  

Additional links:

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1995: The first picture of Flajolet and I. He welcomed me with open arms into the field of Analysis of Algorithms. No special treatment here---he did this with hundreds of others as well.

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LATIN 2000 in Uruguay.

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AofA 2003 in San Miniato.

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Vienna Math Info meeting 2004.

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Right: A drawing by Philippe Jacquet of the "village", with Philippe Flajolet as the head of the tribe.

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AofA 2005 in Barcelona.

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AofA 2006 in Alden Biezen, Belgium.

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Drawing by Philippe Jacquet entitled Oliveira de Flajeiras.

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AofA 2007 in Juan Les Pins.

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ANALCO 2007 and SODA 2007 in New Orleans.

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AofA 2008 in Maresias, Brezil.

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Poster [10MB] for the Colloquium for Philippe Flajolet's 60th Birthday, which was held in Paris from 1-2 December 2008.

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ICALP 2009.

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AofA 2009 in Frejus.

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AofA 2010 in Vienna. My last two pictures of Philippe.

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Contact

Luc Devroye
School of Computer Science
McGill University
Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6
lucdevroye@gmail.com
http://cg.scs.carleton.ca/~luc