Constantine Daskalakis is an Associate Professor at MIT’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department and is considered one of the brightest minds worldwide. It took Daskalakis approximately one year to solve Nash’s puzzle and achieve the unachievable, gaining international recognition from the academic community.
In the fifties Nash created a simplified system of relationships and actions describing decision making behaviors with different interests in different positions, such as adversaries in a “game”. With the help of his professors Christos Papademetriou from Berkley University and Paul Goldberg from Liverpool University, the team managed to prove that there is no way to anticipate the balance point.
Daskalakis does not hide his reluctance to leave his academic career in America and return to Greece, based on the fear he would probably not be able to continue his research there. Nevertheless, he stands ready to “give back to Greece” because “Greece provided the foundation for me to get where I am now”. On his personal webpage he cites a quote from Kavafe’s “Satrapia”, in English.
What a misfortune, although you are made
for fine and great works
this unjust fate of yours always
denies you encouragement and success;
that base customs should block you;
and pettiness and indifference.
And how terrible the day when you yield
(the day when you give up and yield),
and you leave on foot for Susa,
and you go to the monarch Artaxerxes
who favorably places you in his court,
and offers you satrapies and the like.
And you accept them with despair
these things that you do not want.
Your soul seeks other things, weeps for other things;
the praise of the public and the Sophists,
the hard-won and inestimable Well Done;
the Agora, the Theater, and the Laurels.
How can Artaxerxes give you these,
where will you find these in a satrapy;
and what life can you live without these.
Constantine P. Cavafy (1910).