Christos Harilaos Papadimitriou (Greek: Χρήστος Χαρίλαος Παπαδημητρίου; born August 16, 1949) is a Greek theoretical computer scientist, and professor of Computer Science at Columbia University.
Papadimitriou studied at the National Technical University of Athens, where in 1972 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Electrical Engineering. He continued to study at Princeton University, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering in 1974 and his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1976.
Papadimitriou has taught at Harvard, MIT, the National Technical University of Athens, Stanford, UCSD, University of California, Berkeley and is currently the Donovan Family Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University.
Papadimitriou co-authored a paper on pancake sorting with Bill Gates, then a Harvard undergraduate. Papadimitriou recalled "Two years later, I called to tell him our paper had been accepted to a fine math journal. He sounded eminently disinterested. He had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to run a small company writing code for microprocessors, of all things. I remember thinking: 'Such a brilliant kid. What a waste.'" The company was Microsoft.
In 2001, Papadimitriou was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and in 2002 he was awarded the Knuth Prize. He became fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for contributions to complexity theory, database theory, and combinatorial optimization. In 2009 he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. During the 36th (ICALP 2009), there was a special event honoring Papadimitriou's contributions to computer science. In 2012, he, along with Elias Koutsoupias, was awarded the Gödel Prize for their joint work on the concept of the price of anarchy.
Papadimitriou is the author of the textbook Computational Complexity, one of the most widely used textbooks in the field of computational complexity theory. He has also co-authored the textbook Algorithms (2008) with Sanjoy Dasgupta and Umesh Vazirani, and the graphic novel Logicomix (2009) with Apostolos Doxiadis.
Papadimitriou was awarded the IEEE John von Neumann Medal in 2016, the EATCS Award in 2015, the Gödel Prize in 2012, the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award in 2004, and the Knuth Prize in 2002. In 2019 he received the Harvey Prize of the Technion/Israel for the year 2018.
At UC Berkeley, in 2006, he joined a professor-and-graduate-student band called Lady X and The Positive Eigenvalues.