Jeffrey Vitter

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Jeffrey Scott Vitter (born 1955 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is provost and executive vice chancellor and Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. As provost, Dr. Vitter is the chief academic and operations officer for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. He co-chaired the development of the KU strategic plan Bold Aspirations [1] and has overseen the creation of the first-ever university-wide KU Core curriculum, expansion of the Schools of Engineering and Business, boosting multidisciplinary research and funding around four strategic initiatives, major growth of technology commercialization and corporate partnerships, and administrative reorganization and efficiency.


Vitter was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He earned a bachelor of science in mathematics with highest honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1977, a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University under the supervision of Donald Knuth in 1980 and a master of business administration from Duke University in 2002.


Vitter served at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas as provost and executive vice president for academics from 2008 to 2009, leading the 48,000-student university in the development of the institution’s academic master plan and launching initiatives affecting faculty start-up allocations, multidisciplinary priorities and diversity. He also oversaw A&M’s campus in Doha, Qatar.

From 2002 to 2008, Vitter was the Frederick Hovde Dean of the College of Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he led the development of two strategic plans, establishing a dual focus of excellence in core departments and in multidisciplinary collaborations. He oversaw net growth by roughly 60 faculty members and launched the collaborative design of an innovative outcomes-based college curriculum.

At Duke University in Durham, North Carolina from 1993 to 2002, Vitter held a distinguished professorship as the Gilbert, Louis, and Edward Lehrman Professor. He chaired the Department of Computer Science for eight and a half years and led it to significant gains in ratings. From 1980 to 1993, he progressed through the faculty ranks in the Department of Computer Science at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Vitter is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1986), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (1993), a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (1996), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2009), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator Awardee (1985), a member of Phi Beta Kappa (1977) and Sigma Xi (1983) and a Fulbright Scholar (1998). He is on the advisory board of the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate. He was on the board of the Computing Research Association from 2000 to 2009, where he continues as co-chair of its Government Affairs Committee. From 1997 to 2001, he was chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (ACM SIGACT).

Academic interests[edit]

Vitter is a computer scientist with over 300 book, journal, and conference publications, primarily on the design and mathematical analysis of algorithms dealing with big data. His Google Scholar h-index is over 65 and he is an ISI highly cited researcher. He helped establish the field of external memory algorithms (a.k.a. I/O algorithms) as a rigorous area of active investigation.[2] He has also made fundamental contributions in databases;[3] compressed data structures and indexing;[4] data compression, including adaptive Huffman coding,[5] arithmetic coding,[6] image compression,[7] and video compression;[8] hashing and search data structures;[9] randomized algorithms;[10] sampling and random variate generation;[11][12][13] prediction and machine learning;[14][15] and average-case complexity.[16]


Vitter and his wife Sharon have three children: Jillian, J. Scott Jr. and Audrey. He is a brother of U.S. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and as a hobby is the family genealogist.[17]


  1. ^ Bold Aspirations: The Strategic Plan for the University of Kansas, 2012-2017,
  2. ^ J. S. Vitter, Algorithms and Data Structures for External Memory, Series on Foundations and Trends in Theoretical Computer Science, now Publishers, Hanover, MA, 2008, ISBN 978-1-60198-106-6.
  3. ^ J. S. Vitter and M. Wang, Approximate Computation of Multidimensional Aggregates of Sparse Data Using Wavelets, Proceedings of the 1999 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data (SIGMOD), June 1999, 193-204. Selected for the 2009 SIGMOD Test of Time Award.
  4. ^ R. Grossi and J. S. Vitter, Compressed Suffix Arrays and Suffix Trees, with Applications to Text Indexing and String Matching, SIAM Journal on Computing, 35(2), 2005, 378-407; extended abstract in STOC 2000, 397-406.
  5. ^ J. S. Vitter, Design and Analysis of Dynamic Huffman Codes, Journal of the ACM, 34(4), October 1987, 825-845; extended abstract in FOCS 1985, 293-302.
  6. ^ P. G. Howard and J. S. Vitter, Arithmetic Coding for Data Compression, Proceedings of the IEEE, 82(6), June 1994, 857-865.
  7. ^ P. G. Howard and J. S. Vitter, Fast and Efficient Lossless Image Compression, IEEE Data Compression Conference (DCC), April 1993, 351-360.
  8. ^ D. T. Hoang and J. S. Vitter, Efficient Algorithms for MPEG Video Compression, Wiley Series in Telecommunications and Signal Processing, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2002, ISBN 0-471-37942-5.
  9. ^ J. S. Vitter and W.-C. Chen, Design and Analysis of Coalesced Hashing, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987, ISBN 0-19-504182-8.
  10. ^ J.-H. Lin and J. S. Vitter, Epsilon-Approximations with Small Packing Constraint Violation, ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), May 1992, 771-782.
  11. ^ J. S. Vitter, Random Sampling with a Reservoir, ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, 11(1), March 1985, 37-57.
  12. ^ J. S. Vitter, An Efficient Algorithm for Sequential Random Sampling, ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software, 13(1), March 1987, 58-67.
  13. ^ Y. Matias, J. S. Vitter, and W.-C. Ni, Dynamic Generation of Discrete Random Variates, Theory of Computing Systems, 36(4), 2003, 329-358.
  14. ^ J. S. Vitter and P. Krishnan, Optimal Prefetching via Data Compression, Journal of the ACM, 43(5), September 1996, 771-793.
  15. ^ P. Krishnan and J. S. Vitter, Optimal Prediction for Prefetching in the Worst Case, SIAM Journal on Computing, 27(6), December 1998, 1617-1636.
  16. ^ J. S. Vitter and P. Flajolet, Average-case Analysis of Algorithms and Data Structures, Chapter 9 in Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science, Volume A: Algorithms and Complexity, edited by Jan van Leeuwen, Elsevier and MIT Press, 1990, 431-524.
  17. ^

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