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Vladislav  Borisovich Kovtchegov
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Obituary for Vladislav Borisovich Kovtchegov

Prof. Dr. Vladislav Borisovich Kovtchegov passed away peacefully on February 9, 2018 from complications during treatment for leukemia at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Vladislav was born on June 16, 1948 in northern Russia, near the city of Pechora. His parents were political exiles in Stalin’s Russia. Vladislav grew up in the village of Belyy Yuzh in the Pechora district and attended secondary school there. As a kid, he loved summer fishing in the local rivers, going on long fishing trips with his friends, where at night the kids would sleep outdoors around a fire by the side of the river.

Vladislav completed his secondary education in a boarding school in Pechora. He was then accepted to Kirovograd Pedagogical University in what is now Ukraine, and finished all the mathematics courses at KPU in one year. He then applied and was accepted to the Moscow State University from which he graduated with a Master’s degree in Mathematics in 1972. In 1971, Vladislav married Olga Yaroshevskaya, and their two sons were born shortly after. Vladislav started his research career as a senior scientist at the Central Research Institute for Automated Systems in the Construction Industry, where he defended his Ph.D. in 1977. He then accepted a teaching position as a docent in the Math Department of the Leningrad Institute of Cinema Engineers (Moscow campus). After that, he became a lead scientist in the USSR Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology in Moscow, where he worked until 1993. Over this period of his life Vladislav was very productive, publishing several dozens of research papers on mathematical modeling in sociology, mentoring Ph.D. students, and even starting a new journal based in Moscow dedicated to mathematical sociology, of which he was the founding editor. In one of his works, he modeled human society as a mathematical ‘graph’, with people being the vertices of the graph, and the relations between people labeled by the links of the graph. This is different from the often-used lattice approach, in which society is modeled as a square grid. Vladislav’s pioneering models continue to make an impact in the developing field of mathematical sociology.

Vladislav was a consummate Moscow intellectual, a real erudite, with an almost unrivaled knowledge of Russian and world literatures, as well as philosophy and history. He would often engage his friends, family, acquaintances, and even complete strangers in deep and informative discussions on a broad range of topics, from politics to philosophy, from art to the history of science.

The 1990’s brought changes to the Soviet Union, making it difficult to continue scientific research in the country. In 1993 Vladislav and his family emigrated to the United States after he was awarded an outstanding scientist green card, settling in New York City. While in New York, Vladislav spent several years teaching computer science and mathematics at the City College of the City University of New York as an Adjunct Professor in the CCNY Computer Science Department. Due to lack of demand for mathematical sociologists he was unable to secure a tenured position in academia, and accepted a job as Senior Biostatistician at Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey in Newark. He worked there until 2006, building mathematical models, developing software, and performing statistical analysis in the field of healthcare. In 2006 Vladislav and his wife moved to Arizona, where they started a consulting business. They then moved for a year to Columbus, Ohio, before retiring and settling down in Albany, Oregon in 2013.

Vladislav is preceded in death by his mother, Maria Kirillovna Kovchegova (1997) and by his father, Boris Sergeyevich Kovchegov (1977). Vladislav is survived by his wife, Olga Kovtchegova, their two sons and five grandchildren, all of whom, along with his daughters-in-law, sorely miss him.

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