Quantum Information Processing, Vol. 5, No. 1, February 2006 (© 2006)
In Memoriam: Thomas Beth
Thomas Beth, the internationally renowned computer scientist, mathema-
tician, and visionary, lost his battle with cancer on August 17, 2005, at the
age of 55. He left behind his wife, three daughters, and a wide family of
friends, students, and colleagues, as well as a rich legacy of work in com-
puter science, mathematics, and physics.
His career started at the Universities of G
ottingen and Erlangen-
urnberg, where he received his diploma and PhD degrees in mathematics
in 1973 and 1978, respectively. Thomas Beth received the Venia Legendi in
computer science in 1984 and was Professor and Head of the Department
of Computer Science and Statistics at the Royal Holloway College of the
University of London in England. From 1985 until his untimely death, he
was a chaired professor of computer science at the Universit
(TH) in Germany where he served as the director of both the Institute for
Algorithms and Cognitive Systems (IAKS) and the European Institute for
System Security (E.I.S.S).
Thomas Beth started his successful research career in the area of
combinatorics. In his PhD thesis, he investigated resolutions of Steiner sys-
tems, and combinatorial designs became a recurring theme in his career.
Although he was initially concerned with theoretical aspects of design the-
ory, he gradually developed an interest in applications of designs in coding
theory. His combinatorial work culminated in the monumental treatise on
Design Theory that he wrote in 1985 jointly with Jungnickel and Lenz.
After completing his PhD, his research interests broadened signiﬁcantly.
He started to investigate the algebraic aspects of the fast Fourier trans-
form, where his main contribution included the design of fast Fourier trans-
forms for solvable groups, and generalizations of the Hartley transform to
algebraic discrete Fourier transforms. The results are documented in his
monograph Verfahren der schnellen Fourier-Transformation. He also made
efforts to convey the basic methodology to undergraduates in the textbook
Mathematische Methoden der Systemtheorie: Fourieranalysis that he wrote
jointly with Babovsky and Neunzert. He always understood his work on
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