Sarah Flannery (born 1982, County Cork, Ireland) was, at sixteen years old, the winner of the 1999 Esat Young Scientist Exhibition for development of the Cayley–Purser algorithm, based on work she had done with researchers at Baltimore Technologies during a brief internship there. The project, entitled "Cryptography – A new algorithm versus the RSA", also won her the EU Young Scientist of the Year Award for 1999. Her book In Code (2001), co-written with her father, mathematician David Flannery, retells the story of the making and breaking of the algorithm and of the enjoyment that she got, as a child and throughout her life, from solving mathematical puzzles.
She studied computer science at Peterhouse, a college of the University of Cambridge, graduating in 2003, and, as of 2006, worked for Electronic Arts as a software engineer. She now works at TirNua as a "Chief Scientist". She focuses on developing the virtual economy in the game and the back-end web services that power game features.
Before working at TirNua, Sarah was software engineer working directly with then Electronic Arts Worldwide Chief Technology Officer, Scott Cronce, and, later, with many fellow Tirnua founders on her first virtual world. Cronce described her as "a rising star [and] a dynamo of energy with great intelligence"!
At EA, she successfully set up the EA Open Source program. Sarah created data visualizations on software architecture and game content creation which were used to directly impact the quality of both. She also successfully ran and turned around the virtual economy within EA-Land (formerly The Sims Online).
Previously she worked on the technical and scientific computing software product Mathematica for Wolfram Research.
The lights on St. Patrick's Street, one of the main thoroughfares of Sarah's home city of Cork, are named after her.
Sarah Flannery is the daughter of David and Elaine Flannery. She has four younger brothers: Mick, Brian, David and Eamonn. Her oldest brother is the singer-songwriter Mick Flannery. Her education included a primary all-girls school and a secondary co-ed school.
In 2014, Sarah and her French-American husband welcomed a child. She also has four stepchildren.
- Sarah Flannery and David Flannery. In Code: A Mathematical Journey, 2001 ISBN 1-56512-377-8
- Cryptography – A new algorithm versus the RSA.
- Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
- Linear algebra
- Cayley–Purser algorithm
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