Oren Patashnik (born 1954) is a computer scientist. He is notable for co-creating BibTeX, and co-writing Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science.[1] He is a researcher at the Center for Communications Research, La Jolla, and lives nearby in San Diego. Oren and his wife Amy have three children, Josh, Ariel, and Jeremy.


Oren Patashnik graduated from Yale University in 1976, and later became a doctoral student in computer science at Stanford University, where his research was supervised by Donald Knuth.

While working at Bell Labs in 1980, Patashnik proved that Qubic can always be won by the first player. Using 1500 hours of computer time, Patashnik's proof is a notable example of a computer-assisted proof.

In 1985, Patashnik created the bibliography-system, BibTeX, in collaboration with Leslie Lamport, the creator of LaTeX. LaTeX is a system and programming language for formatting documents, which is especially designed for mathematical documents. BibTeX is a widely used bibliography-formatting tool for LaTeX.

In 1988, Patashnik assisted Ronald Graham and Donald Knuth in writing Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science[3], an important mathematical publication and college textbook.

In 1990, he got his doctorate in computer science. His thesis paper was about "Optimal Circuit Segmentation for Pseudo-Exhaustive Testing" [4].

After the 2003 Cedar Fire destroyed 60% of the houses in his immediate neighborhood, his statistical study[2][3] showed that houses with a wood-shake shingle roof did very badly, but surprisingly, so did houses with a Spanish-style, curved-red-tile roof.

Oren is a master of puns, particularly those that exploit the pesky dualism of "discreet" and "discrete." He has also been known to enjoy a leg of lamb.


  1. ^ Graham, Ronald L.; Knuth, Donald E.; Patashnik, Oren (1994). Concrete mathematics: A foundation for computer science (Second ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. pp. xiv+657. ISBN 0-201-55802-5. MR 1397498. 
  2. ^ [1] Oren Patashnik, Roof Statistics for the October 26, 2003 Wildfire in Loire Valley (a neighborhood in the Scripps Ranch section of San Diego),2 January 2004
  3. ^ [2] Joseph W. Mitchell and Oren Patashnik, Firebrand Protection as the Key Design Element for Structure Survival during Catastrophic Wildland Fires, Fire and Materials 2007 conference, San Francisco, January, 2007