Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Nancy Lynch, the NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering, has been appointed as associate head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), effective September 1.

Lynch is known for her fundamental contributions to the foundations of distributed computing. Her work applies a mathematical approach to explore the inherent limits on computability and complexity in distributed systems.

Her best-known research is the “FLP” impossibility result for distributed consensus in the presence of process failures. Other research includes the I/O automata system modeling frameworks. Lynch’s recent work focuses on wireless network algorithms and biological distributed algorithms.

The longtime head of the Theory of Distributed Systems (TDS) research group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Lynch joined MIT in 1981. She received her BS from Brooklyn College in 1968 and her PhD from MIT in 1972, both in mathematics. Recently, Lynch served as head of CSAIL’s Theory of Computation (TOC) group for several years.

She is also the author of several books and textbooks, including the graduate textbook Distributed Algorithms, considered a standard reference in the field. Lynch has also has co-authored several hundred articles about distributed algorithms and impossibility results, and about formal modeling and verification of distributed systems. She is the recipient of numerous awards, an ACM Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.