Managing Director, Microsoft Research New England Lab
Jennifer Tour Chayes is managing director of the newly announced Microsoft Research New England lab in Cambridge, Mass., scheduled to open in July 2008. Before this, she was research area manager for Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Cryptography at Microsoft Research Redmond. Chayes joined Microsoft Research in 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, and algorithmic game theory. She is the co-author of almost 100 scientific papers and the co-inventor of more than 20 patents.
Chayes received her bachelor of art degree in biology and physics at Wesleyan University, where she graduated first in her class, and her doctorate in mathematical physics at Princeton University. She did her postdoctoral work in the mathematics and physics departments at Harvard and Cornell universities. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Sloan Research Fellowship and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. She has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Chayes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a National Associate of the National Academies.
Chayes is best known for her work on phase transitions, in particular for laying the foundation for the study of phase transitions in problems in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science. This study is now giving rise to some of the fastest known algorithms for fundamental problems in combinatorial optimization. She is also one of the world’s experts in the modeling and analysis of random, dynamically growing graphs, which are used to model the Internet, the World Wide Web, and a host of other technological and social networks. Among Chayes’ contributions to Microsoft technologies are the development of methods to analyze the structure and behavior of various networks, the design of auction algorithms, and the design and analysis of various business models for the online world.