Jump to content

Nancy Lynch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nancy Lynch
Born (1948-01-19) January 19, 1948 (age 76)
Brooklyn, New York City
Alma materBrooklyn College
Known forDistributed systems
AwardsACM Fellow (1997)
Dijkstra Prize (2001, 2007)
Member, National Academy of Engineering (2001)
Van Wijngaarden Award (2006)
IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award (2010)
Member, National Academy of Sciences (2015)
Knuth Prize (2007)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsTufts University
University of Southern California
Florida International University
Georgia Tech
Thesis Relativization of the Theory of Computational Complexity  (1972)
Doctoral advisorAlbert R. Meyer
Doctoral studentsCal Newport
George Varghese

Nancy Ann Lynch (born January 19, 1948)[1] is a computer scientist affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering in the EECS department and heads the "Theory of Distributed Systems" research group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Education and early life[edit]

Lynch was born in Brooklyn, and her academic training was in mathematics. She attended Brooklyn College and MIT, where she received her Ph.D. in 1972 under the supervision of Albert R. Meyer.[2][3]


She served on the math and computer science faculty at several other universities, including Tufts University, the University of Southern California, Florida International University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology (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 1985 work with Michael J. Fischer and Mike Paterson[4] on consensus problems received the PODC Influential-Paper Award in 2001.[5] Their work showed that in an asynchronous distributed system, consensus is impossible if there is one processor that crashes. On their contribution, Jennifer Welch wrote that "this result has had a monumental impact in distributed computing, both theory and practice. Systems designers were motivated to clarify their claims concerning under what circumstances the systems work."[5]

She is the author of numerous research articles about distributed algorithms and impossibility results, and about formal modeling and validation of distributed systems (see, e.g., input/output automaton). She is the author of the graduate textbook "Distributed Algorithms".[6] She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and an ACM Fellow.[7]



Lynch, Nancy; Merritt, Michael; Weihl, William; Fekete, Alan (1994). Atomic Transactions. San Mateo, California: Morgan Kaufmann. pp. 476. ISBN 9781558601048.

Lynch, Nancy A. (1998). Distributed Algorithms (2nd ed.). San Francisco, California: Kaufmann. ISBN 978-1558603486.

Kaynar, Dilsun; Lynch, Nancy; Segala, Roberto; Vaandrager, Frits (2011). The Theory of Timed I/O Automata (2nd ed.). San Rafael, California: Morgan & Claypool. p. 137. ISBN 9781608450039.


  1. ^ Who's who of American women. Marquis Who's Who, 1973. p. 587.
  2. ^ Nancy, Lynch (1972). Relativization of the theory of computational complexity (Ph.D.). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/12180.
  3. ^ Nancy Lynch at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ Fischer, M. J.; Lynch, N. A.; Paterson, M. S. (1985). "Impossibility of distributed consensus with one faulty process" (PDF). Journal of the ACM. 32 (2): 374–382. doi:10.1145/3149.214121. S2CID 207660233.
  5. ^ a b "PODC Influential Paper Award: 2001". Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  6. ^ Lynch, Nancy (1996). Distributed Algorithms. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55860-348-6.
  7. ^ "Nancy A Lynch – Award Winner". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  8. ^ "NAE Members Directory - Dr. Nancy A. Lynch". NAE. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  9. ^ "IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 17, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  10. ^ "Lynch named Athena Lecturer". MIT News. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  11. ^ "National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected". Retrieved 2016-05-05.

External links[edit]