Nancy A. Lynch

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Election Year: 2016
Primary Section: 34, Computer and Information Sciences
Membership Type: Member


Nancy Lynch is the NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering in MIT's EECS department.  She heads the Theory of Distributed Systems research group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). She received her B.S. from Brooklyn College and her PhD from MIT, both in mathematics.

Lynch has written many research articles about distributed algorithms and impossibility results, and about formal modeling and verification of distributed systems. Her best-known contribution is the "FLP" impossibility result for distributed consensus in the presence of process failures, with Fischer and Paterson. Other contributions include the I/O automata modeling frameworks, with Tuttle, Kaynar, Segala, and Vaandrager. Her recent work is focused on wireless network algorithms and biological distributed algorithms.

Lynch is the author of the book "Distributed Algorithms" and co-author of "The Theory of Timed I/O Automata". She is an ACM Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering as well as the NAS. She has been awarded the Dijkstra Prize (twice), the van Wijngaarden prize, the Knuth Prize, the Piore Prize, and the Athena Prize. She has supervised approximately 30 PhD students and over 50 Masters students.

Research Interests

Nancy Lynch is interested in all aspects of distributed computing theory, including modeling,algorithm design, analysis, lower bounds, and applications. She is especially interested in algorithms for "dificult" platforms, which are subject to ailures and other changes. Recently, her work has focused on wireless network algorithms, biological distributed lgorithms, and connections between them.

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