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Computer scientist Eva Tardos honored as ICIAM lecturer

Eva Tardos

The International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) has selected Éva Tardos, Cornell’s Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Science and senior associate dean of the Faculty of Computing and Information Science, to deliver the Olga Taussky-Todd Lecture at the international meeting of applied and industrial mathematicians in Beijing, Aug. 10-14, 2015. It is the most important international event in applied and industrial mathematics, held once every four years.

This honor is conferred on a “woman who has made outstanding contributions in applied mathematics and/or scientific computation.”

The lecture is named in memory of Olga Taussky-Todd, whose scientific legacy is in theoretical and applied mathematics, and whose work exemplifies the qualities to be recognized. Lecturers are selected by a committee established by the ICIAM president, with advice from the Association for Women in Mathematics and European Women in Mathematics. Tardos was chosen for her numerous and deep contributions to the fields of combinatorial optimization, discrete algorithms and algorithmic game theory, and her ability to convey the basic ideas and inspire others to pursue them.

Tardos joined the Cornell faculty in 1989 and became chair of the Department of Computer Science in 2006. Her recent work concerns algorithmic game theory applied to networks. She is most known for her work on network-flow algorithms; approximation algorithms; and quantifying the efficiency of selfish routing, an emerging area of designing systems for “selfish users” who all seek the best possible outcome for themselves, as in competing for bandwidth on the Internet. Her work shows that in many cases the selfish solutions do reasonably well, which diminishes the need for central coordination. In a recent paper, “Network formation in the presence of contagious risk,” she studied the cascade effects of failures, especially relevant after the 2008 economic crisis.

Tardos received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Eötvös University in Budapest. Before joining Cornell she had a Humboldt fellowship at the University of Bonn, postdoctoral fellowships at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at Eötvös University, and was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and the recipient of honors including the Packard Fellowship, the Gödel Prize, Fulkerson Prize, Dantzig Prize and the IEEE Technical Achievement Award.

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