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Leonid Khachiyan, professor, leading computer scientist

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Leonid G. Khachiyan, a renowned professor of computer science at Rutgers University whose work helped solve how computers process large problems, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 52.

''He was among the world's most famous computer scientists," said Haym Hirsh, chairman of the computer science department at Rutgers.

In 1979, Mr. Khachiyan proved the existence of an efficient way to solve programming problems 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.

In 1982, he won the Fulkerson Prize from the Mathematical Programming Society and the American Mathematical Society for outstanding papers involving discrete mathematics.

Born in 1952 in St. Petersburg, Mr. Khachiyan came to the United States in 1989. He taught at Cornell University before joining Rutgers in 1990.

He leaves his wife, two daughters, his parents, and two brothers. Funeral services have been held.

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