Steven Skiena

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Steven Sol Skiena
Steven Skiena.jpg
Born (1961-01-30) January 30, 1961 (age 56)
Nationality  United States
Fields Computer science
Institutions Stony Brook University (1988–present)
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Doctoral advisor Herbert Edelsbrunner

Steven Sol Skiena (born January 30, 1961) is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University.[1] He is a co-founder and the Chief Science Officer of General Sentiment, a social media and news analytics company.[2] His research interests include algorithm design and its applications to biology. Skiena is the author of several popular books in the fields of algorithms, programming, and mathematics. The Algorithm Design Manual is widely used as an undergraduate text in algorithms and within the tech industry for job interview preparation.[3] In 2001, Skiena was awarded the IEEE Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award "for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education in the areas of algorithms and discrete mathematics and for influential textbook and software."[4]

Skiena has worked on algorithmic problems in synthetic biology, and, in particular, issues of optimal gene design for a given protein under various constraints. In collaboration with virologist Eckard Wimmer, he has worked to computationally design synthetic viruses for use as attenuated vaccines.[5] Their Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering (SAVE) approach has been validated in flu[6] and experiments with other viruses are ongoing. A popular account of this work appears in Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazare's Natural Computing.[7]

Skiena played a role in the conception of the Apple iPad. In 1988, Skiena and his team won a competition run by Apple to design the Computer of the Year 2000.[8] Their design, a tablet featuring a touch screen, GPS, and wireless communications was similar in many regards to the iPad of 2010.[9]



  1. ^ Steven Skiena's homepage at Stony Brook University.
  2. ^ General Sentiment personnel page.
  3. ^ [1] Steve Yegge's blog
  4. ^
  5. ^ Coleman; et al. (2008). "Virus attenuation by genome-scale changes in codon pair bias". Science. 320 (5884): 1784–7. PMC 2754401Freely accessible. PMID 18583614. doi:10.1126/science.1155761. 
  6. ^ Mueller; et al. (2010). "Live attenuated influenza virus vaccines by computer-aided rational design.". Nature Biotechnology. 28 (7): 723–6. PMC 2902615Freely accessible. PMID 20543832. doi:10.1038/nbt.1636. 
  7. ^ Natural Computing; Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazare, W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.
  8. ^ Bartlett W. Mel; Stephen M. Omohundro; Arch D. Robison; Steven S. Skiena; Kurt H. Thearling; Kune T. Young; Stephen Wolfram (June 1988). "Tablet: Personal Computer in the Year 2000" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 31 (6): 638–648. doi:10.1145/62959.62960. 
  9. ^ James Barron (Jan 28, 2010). "Apple's New Device Looks Like a Winner. From 1988"Free access subject to limited trial, subscription normally required. New York Times.