Lily Rebecca Aaronson


In 7+ years of blogging, one lesson I’ve learned is to go easy on the highly-personal stuff.  But sometimes one does need to make an exception.  Lily Rebecca Aaronson was born today (Jan. 20), at 6:55am, to me and Dana, weighing 3.3kg.  (After seeing her placenta, the blog category “Adventures in Meatspace” never seemed more appropriate.)  I’m blogging from the postpartum ward, which has free wifi and excellent food—we’ll probably stay here as long as they’ll let us.

Given that her parents are both complexity theorists, one question people will have is whether Lily demonstrates any early aptitude in that field.  All I can say is that, so far, she’s never once confused quantum computing with classical exponential parallelism, treated relativization as acting on a complexity class rather than on its definition, or made any other mathematical mistake that I can see.  (She has, on the other hand, repeatedly mistaken her hand for food.)

77 Responses to “Lily Rebecca Aaronson”

  1. Jelani Says:

    Congrats! I can see why she mistook that hand for food. That hand looks delicious!

  2. Garrett Says:

    Congratulations on the new iteration!

  3. lylebot Says:

    Congrats! Our first was born 4 months ago. It has been a fantastic ride so far.

  4. Hugh Laue Says:

    Well, this prompts me, a lurker on your blog for about a year and one who really enjoyed reading through your Democritus lectures, not for the maths (I’m a retired organic chemist not at all mathematically mature) but for the philosophy.

    This warms my heart ( have 4 kids and 5 grandchildren so I can identify).

    Congratulations to all involved and may Lily be blessed with a long and happy life.

    Hugh, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  5. Matthias Gallé Says:

    Congrats!, may she learn a lot from you (and teach you some bits too :D)

  6. Jay Says:

    Congrats :-)

  7. Andy D Says:

    Big congrats, Scott and Dana!

  8. Scott Says:

    Thanks so much, everyone!

  9. Vadim Says:

    Mazel tov, Scott and Dana!

  10. Marc Spoor Says:


  11. Troy Says:

    Great news, congrats Scott and Dana!

  12. johnstricker Says:

    Ooooh! Congratulations!!!

  13. Sean Carroll Says:

    Huge congrats! A whole new kind of complexity class enters your life.

  14. ryan williams Says:

    Congratulations, Scott and Dana! Looking forward to Glenn and Lily meeting each other at theory conferences! (Glenn didn’t manage to submit his recent paper to STOC; perhaps Lily can join as a co-drooler on the manuscript.)

  15. John Sidles Says:

    Wonderful! Congratulations! Hopefully mom is doing well (`cuz she did the work!) … definitely stay in that cozy & supportive postpartum ward as long as they’ll let you … and also, a mother-in-law is a very handy item to have around, when newborns arrive back home! :)

  16. Ronald de Wolf Says:

    Wow, congratulations Scott and Dana, I’m very happy for you!

  17. Christian Says:

    Congratulations! And all the best to the entire family!
    I’m particularly happy to read the weight in units I can understand.
    Also: as far as I can remember, the time you can stay and enjoy the food is bounded by a polynomial. Hence it might be best to eat using a quantum strategy ;-)

  18. wolfgang Says:


    This will change your life quite a bit …

  19. Gus Says:

    Congratulations, Scott. You’re in for a ride, now. All the best to the three of you.

  20. Jonathan Shewchuk Says:

    Congratulations, Scott! I don’t think she’s really mistaken her hand for food. She’s just trying to shave off a polylog factor.

  21. Bill Kaminsky Says:

    Congratulations, Scott! I can’t think of a good computational complexity pun, so just… congratulations!

  22. Ajit R. Jadhav Says:

    Wow! A very different kind of a post! Congrats!!


  23. Tom Says:

    Congrats Scott and Dana!

  24. Brian Says:

    Awww, just 17ish hours short of being born on the best day ever. My birthday. Oh well, congratulations to you anyway!

    Also, I suspect she wouldn’t be the first mathematician to be confused by nonsense things like what is and what isn’t food.

  25. Michael Kovarik Says:

    Congratulations, Scott! Your child is beyond adorable! Is she your first?

  26. Mike Says:


  27. Thomas Says:

    Congratulations Scott & Dana, and “bienvenue au monde” to Lily.

  28. schnitzi Says:

    Congrats! Remember, the best way to start a child along the path to learning quantum theory is to make sure they don’t learn object permanence. Remodel the house daily, switch cars with friends frequently, and fling her toys behind the couch when she turns the other way.

  29. Charilaos Zisopoulos Says:

    Congratulations, Scott! All the best wishes for your family!

  30. Frank Wilhelm Says:

    Welcome Lily and congratulaTions to the parents!

  31. Scott Says:

    Michael #25:

      Is she your first?

    Given how little we know what we’re doing, I’d say more like our zeroth.

  32. Arka Bhattacharya Says:

    Congratulations to both of you, Prof. Aaronson and Prof. Moshkovitz!!! She is so beautiful. A great gift from GOD on the new year.

  33. David Speyer Says:

    Congratulations and good luck! Will you be teaching Lily to break RSA?

  34. Scott Says:

    David Speyer #33: So far, I haven’t seen any signs of interest in RSA or cryptanalysis more generally—or even in PAC-learning regular languages, to which breaking RSA is reducible. On the other hand, what emerged last night is that, while probably not a universal quantum computer, she is an extremely efficient PoopSampling apparatus, one that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “PP-complete.” (Sorry, I’m too tired to come up with anything better.)

  35. Ungrateful_Person Says:

    Congrats Scott!

  36. Ross Snider Says:

    Congratulations Prof Aaronson! She looks beautiful.

  37. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Scott – Don’t worry, between one and two years from now, she will indeed be PAC-learning an approximately regular language. Okay, PAC-learning an arbitrary regular language would be asking for a lot, but even learning those that are within reach is fairly miraculous.

  38. eitan bachmat Says:

    Mazal tov Dana and Scott. Usually our kids are a better version, which probably means that she is already trying to combine number theory and string theory.

    Cheers and a lot of good luck

  39. Conor Says:

    Congratulations Scott!

  40. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    No, it means that she will invent even better snark to undermine number theory and string theory.

  41. John Preskill Says:

    Scott and Dana: Fantastic news! Your life just became a lot more complex but also more fun!

    Lily: You have the greatest possible blessing of all — wonderful parents.

  42. Amirali Says:

    Congratulations Scott! She looks adorable.
    You have a year to come up with a complexity class “LRA” for her first birthday ;)

  43. Scott Says:

    Greg #40: What have I ever done to undermine either number theory or string theory? :-) Look, I did once declare that, if you put me up in a nice enough hotel room, the number of spacetime dimensions can be anything you want it to be. Yet somehow number theory and string theory both recovered from the devastating blow of that snark and soldiered on. (Nor, I don’t think, is my snark what apparently pushed supersymmetry or extra dimensions above the LHC scale.) Furthermore, even if you do think I’ve been snarkily undermining these fields (number theory I don’t see even vaguely), what has Dana done? Shouldn’t any genetic tendency to string-theory-undermining snarkiness at least be diluted in Lily?

  44. Scott Says:

    Amirali #42:

      You have a year to come up with a complexity class “LRA” for her first birthday

    I actually thought about that a considerable amount! In fact, while brainstorming names, I argued for a long time for Queenie Meredith Aaronson (QMA), or maybe Phoebe Penelope Aaronson (PPA), but was overruled on both by Dana. There would’ve been many, many more choices for complexity-class initials had my last name started with P.

    Now, regarding LRA: I dunno, Linear Recurrent Automaton? Left-Right Addressable? Local Randomized Algorithm? Unfortunately, not only do those not mean anything as far as I know, but the first two sound like they’d be pretty lame even if they did.

    On the positive side, maybe Lily will turn out to want nothing to do with theoretical computer science, and will go into some completely different field—like algebraic geometry, or even physics. In that case, I would’ve felt bad had I saddled her for her entire life with a complexity-theoretic pun.

  45. Scott Says:

    But I think the award for best baby humor I heard in the last two days (there were many contenders) has to go to my dad.

    Me: Isn’t it something how she knows exactly how to breastfeed, how she just goes to town like a remora latching onto a shark?

    My dad: Well, what did you expect? You think she was born yesterday?

  46. Amirali Says:

    Scott #44: Hehehe…Thank God Dana overruled your name suggestions. Lily Rebecca is a beautiful name!

    And I gave you a year for a reason — the complexity class needs to be backed up by a respectable publication, ideally leading to further research, conjectures, etc. ;)
    I am sure Lily would appreciate this even if she takes on a different field.

  47. alexf Says:

    Congrats guys!

    (…but methinks you forgot to cite related prior work on complexity theorist multiplication by Vassilevska and Williams)

  48. Nilima Says:


    Now for the asymptotic approach to both complexity and sleeplessness.

  49. Micki St. James Says:

    Congratulations to you both!

  50. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Scott – Precisely because your attempt to undermine string theory failed, Lily has plenty of room to surpass you. As you should know from the theory of genetic algorithms, the effective traits of children aren’t necessarily in the convex hull of their parents. In any case Dana did do something — she gave birth.

    I concede the point about number theory. I truly can’t think that you’ve done to that subject, except use it for your algebrization paper. Any number theorist who considers that rank exploitation should instead see the need for inclusiveness.

    Speaking of snark, you should arrange for Lily to see her syntactical godparent, Dana Scott. For, I guess, a TCS baptism. (I noticed his name before, but I didn’t realize that he is Mulmuley’s advisor.)

  51. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    I agree with Amirali — Lily Rebecca is much better than these other names that you didn’t use. If she could be Lily Rebecca Moshkovitz Aaronson, that makes LRMA or even LMA, which perhaps has more potential as a complexity class. E.g., log space Merlin Arthur?

  52. Gil Kalai Says:

    Congratulations, Dana, Scott, and Lily!
    מזל טוב, דנה, סקוט, ולילי
    What a start! after two days of inauguration and celebrations,
    Lily’s third day is the day of general election over here.

  53. the reader from Istanbul Says:

    Live long and prosper, Lily Rebecca Aaronson!

  54. Michael Dixon Says:

    Wow, I had no idea you guys were even expecting. Congrats!

  55. Elyot Grant Says:

    Congratulations to you both!

  56. Chris Says:

    how lovely! congratulations to you both!

  57. Irit Dinur Says:

    Mazal Tov Dana and Scott & Welcome to Lily!!

  58. wolfgang Says:

    off topic: Did you notice the latest paper by Susskind.
    I think this is the first time a complexity type of argument is used to settle a major issue in physics (the existence of ‘firewalls’).

  59. Cody Says:

    Congratulations! A lovely family!

  60. asdf Says:

    Yay! Paul Erdős called babies and little kids “epsilons” while electrical engineers call them “harmonics”. Now from Garrett at #2, I learned the computer science term! Congrats to the parents!

  61. Ian Douglas Says:

    Huge congratulations, a birth is such a joyful thing to happen. I’m very glad someone made the ‘born yesterday’ joke in time.

  62. Justin Smith Says:


  63. Boaz Barak Says:

    Mazal Tov Scott and Dana – what a beautiful baby!

  64. tulpoeid Says:

    Cognratulations! We are looking forward to her blog entries and eventually own blog!

  65. DDR Says:

    Congratulations! May she have a long and free life. :)

  66. Blake Stacey Says:


  67. k Says:

    Congrats! She looks optimal.

  68. Hans Says:


  69. Henning Dekant Says:

    Wonderful news!

    Being a parent has its challenges, but is also the single most rewarding experience in my life. Welcome to the club :-)

  70. James Gallagher Says:

    Just don’t let her discover Pokemon and everything will be fine.

    She’s beautiful, and your life has changed forever, just try to have fun and make things happy even when it seems all really too much.

  71. Stephen Jordan Says:

    Congratulations to Scott, Dana, and Lily!

  72. Sebastian Says:

    Congratulations! At least now you’ve got some work to do… the last person I said ‘congratulations’ when I found out his wife was pregnant promptly told me it didn’t require much of an effort on his part

  73. Bram Cohen Says:

    A Locally Randomized Algorithm should be one where a random sequence is used in multiple places, and it being random makes certain things almost always happen, but it must be the same random sequence in all cases, to guarantee some other things.

  74. David Says:

    Congratulations. May she have a long and healthy life and always be a joy.

  75. Kenneth Regan Says:

    Congratulations! Had missed this while diverted by a flood of personal events. She is beautiful—love your description of watching her at 2 weeks old in the other item.

    Perhaps “Locally Randomized Algorithms” should mean those with subroutines computing in the “Bellagio” randomized-function model of Shafi G. and others? As for “iteration”, if you translate “Lily” into Hebrew semantically, and translate back phonetically, you have “Susan”.

  76. Avoimet Työpaikat Says:

    Congratulation for having a baby and to your baby welcome in the world.Well i am impress that you are 7 + years in world of blogging.Well i never been have those kind of number even in my job in recruitment agency in Finland and i hope that i will achieve 7 + years in world that i choose.

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