[This is a guest blog post on behalf of MSR, communicated to me by Yuval Peres. Like everyone who knew Michael, I was incredibly shocked and saddened by the news. I had relatively few interactions with Michael, but he has made a deep impression. I was always hoping we’d get a chance to collaborate , as it was clear to me that he’s exceptionally talented and creative. If you’ve known Michael, feel free to share your perspective in the comments. -Boaz]
The Microsoft Research family is shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague and friend Michael Cohen. Michael was a brilliant mathematician and a rising star in his field. He spent this past summer with us as a Microsoft Research Fellow, doing what he loved most. Over the summer, he made sweeping progress in online learning and online algorithms, two fields he had just recently become acquainted with. In addition to solving five open problems in these areas, he continued his substantial progress on the k-server problem, one of the most celebrated and notoriously difficult challenges in the space of adaptive algorithms.
Michael was a truly exceptional individual. We will remember Michael for his infectious smile and his larger-than-life personality. We will never forget his unrelenting curiosity, his thirst for knowledge, and his deep love for mathematics and theoretical foundations of computing. We are stunned by his loss. We will hold onto our memories of Michael, and know that his ideas and scientific accomplishments will continue on as important advances.
We extend our most sincere condolences to Michael’s family and friends.