Nancy Lynch is the NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering in the EECS department and heads the Theory of Distributed Systems research group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She has written numerous research articles about distributed algorithms and impossibility results, and about formal modeling and validation of distributed systems. She is the author of the graduate textbook "Distributed Algorithms" and a co-author of the monograph "The Theory of Timed I/O Automata". She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, an ACM Fellow, and a winner of several prizes for contributions to distributed computing theory.
Prof. Lynch's academic training was in mathematics, at Brooklyn College and MIT. She served on the mathematics and computer science faculty at several other universities, including the University of Southern California and Georgia Tech, prior to joining the MIT faculty in 1982. Since then, she has been working on applying mathematics to the tasks of understanding and constructing complex distributed systems. Her current projects involve designing and analyzing algorithms for wireless networks, and biological distributed algorithms including brain network algorithms and insect colony algorithms.
We are interested in applying insights from distributed computing theory to understand how ants and other social insects work together to perform complex tasks such as foraging for food, allocating tasks to workers, and choosing high quality nest sites.
We work on a wide range of problems in distributed computing theory. We study algorithms and lower bounds for typical problems that arise in distributed systems---like resource allocation, implementing shared memory abstractions, and reliable communication.