Misha Braverman: My Mentor and My Model
Before I begin my story of Misha Braverman, let me introduce myself. I graduated, in Mathematics, from a provincial University in Russia, and in a couple of years defended there a PhD thesis in Abstract Automata theory, after which I relocated, in 1967, to the Academgorodok near Novosibirsk in Siberia, a newly developed analogue to a big American University Campus, with many Russian quirks which are not that important here. While there, I was mostly engaged in conducting new research projects in what is now data science and decision support. I met Misha Braverman in April 1969, thanks to Ilya Muchnik. The latter had visited our institution in Academgorodok to see Prof. Tatiana Zaslavskaya, the head and leader of our Sociology Department, regarding a joint research project between her group and that of Braverman. I attended an Ilya’s presentation explaining mathematical methods underlying the project. In the end, I asked him as a speaker, whether there was any novelty in their methods at all since I could see none in his narrative. Ilya seemed pleasantly surprised that among the audience was somebody who was able to follow his technical explanations through. He made several remarks explaining the novelties involved in the project. Then he had a long conversation with me asking, among many other things, about my approaches and results. Then Ilya said they would invite me to speak at the Seminar in Moscow, led by Emmanuel Braverman, Mark Aiserman and Lev Rozonoer.