Leonid Khachiyan, 52, a Rutgers University professor and a noted expert in computer science whose work helped computers process extremely complex problems, died Friday of a heart attack at his home in South Brunswick, N.J.
In 1979, Khachiyan found an efficient way to solve programming problems that were thought to be intractable because they dealt with an often astronomically large number of options. His breakthrough dealt with the underlying mathematics to find the best of a finite but huge number of choices a computer can pursue.
Applications today extend to a wide variety of areas, including telecommunications, economics, biology and agriculture.
In 1982, Khachiyan was awarded the Fulkerson Prize from the Mathematical Programming Society and the American Mathematical Society.
Khachiyan was born in the former Soviet Union in what is now St. Petersburg. At age 9, he moved to Moscow, where he later earned a PhD in computer mathematics and a doctorate in computer science. He immigrated to the United States in 1989.