Jennifer Chayes

2012 Winner of the ABIE Award for Leadership

Jennifer Chayes is a distinguished scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England, which she co-founded in July 2008. Before this, she was Research Area Manager for Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Cryptography at Microsoft Research Redmond. Jennifer joined Microsoft Research in 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group. She is the co-author of over 110 scientific papers and the co-inventor of more than 25 patents.

Jennifer has many ties to the academic community. She was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA. She serves on numerous boards committees, including the Turing Award Selection Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, the Institute for Computational and Experimental Mathematics, the Advisory Boards of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus, and Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology. Jennifer is a past Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past Vice- President of the American Mathematical Society.

Jennifer received her BA in biology and physics at Wesleyan University, where she graduated first in her class, and her Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Princeton. She did postdoctoral work in the mathematics and physics departments at Harvard and Cornell. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. She has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Jennifer is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Fields Institute, the Association for Computing Machinery, and a National Associate of the National Academies. She is well 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 online social networks.

Among Jennifer’s 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. Jennifer lives with her husband, Christian Borgs, who also happens to be her principal scientific collaborator. In her spare time, she enjoys overworking.