When Kleinberg substituted for Chew during CS 280, I had no idea who he was. At first I thought he was a graduate student, so it surprised me to learn that he was a tenured professor. I learned a lot more about Kleinberg during my internship at PARC. He had been one of PARC’s first undergraduate interns from Cornell, and his work there led to a paper. Incidentally, I also learned some of his research produced algorithms closely related to the technology behind Google.
I took Kleinberg’s CS 482 during my final semester at Cornell. The class was one of my favorites. Kleinberg was one of the rare professors that encouraged student participation in class. His examples were entertaining, too. In one of them, he invented an Indian-Italian restaurant called Little Idli.
To say faculty at Berkeley know of Kleinberg would be an understatement. He recently won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and, as already stated, the Nevanlinna Prize. Unlike Perelman, Kleinberg’s acceptance of these honors was met without incident.