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Personal Profile of Dr. Jennifer Tour Chayes

Dr. Jennifer Tour Chayes
Distinguished Scientist & Managing Director
New England

Home Page: http://research.microsoft.com/users/jchayes/
Jennifer Tour Chayes is a Distinguished Scientist and the Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she co-founded in July 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she co-founded in 2012. Before this, she was Research Area Manager for Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Cryptography at Microsoft Research Redmond. Chayes joined Microsoft Research in 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, and algorithmic game theory. She is the co-author of over 125 scientific papers and the co-inventor of more than 30 patents.

Chayes has many ties to the academic community. She was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA. She serves on numerous institute boards, advisory committees and editorial boards, including the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, the Advisory Boards of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farms Research Campus, and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. Chayes is a past Chair the Turing Award Committee, a past Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past Vice President of the American Mathematical Society.

Chayes received her BA in biology and physics at Wesleyan University, where she graduated first in her class, and her PhD in mathematical physics at Princeton. She did her postdoctoral work in the mathematics and physics departments at Harvard and Cornell. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Chayes has recently been the recipient of many leadership awards including the Leadership Award of Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, and the Women of Leadership Vision Award of the Anita Borg Institute. She has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Chayes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Fields Institute, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Mathematical Society, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a National Associate of the National Academies.

Chayes is best known for her work on phase transitions, in particular for laying the foundation for the study of phase transitions in problems in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science; this study is now giving rise to some of the fastest known algorithms for fundamental problems in combinatorial optimization. She is also one of the world’s experts in the modeling and analysis of random, dynamically growing graphs—which are used to model the Internet, the World Wide Web and a host of other technological, social and biological networks. Among Chayes’ contributions to Microsoft technologies are the development of methods to analyze the structure and behavior of various networks, the design of auction algorithms, and the design and analysis of various business models for the online world.

Chayes lives with her husband, Christian Borgs, who also happens to be her principal scientific collaborator. In her spare time, she enjoys overworking.
Current/Future Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Emeriti Trustees Mar 01, 2017 Feb 28, 2023

Past Committee Membership
Name Office Start Date End Date
Board of Trustees Secretary of the Board (3/5/05-3/1/2008) Mar 06, 2004 Mar 01, 2008
Board of Trustees Mar 02, 2008 Mar 01, 2012
Board of Trustees Mar 01, 2012 Feb 29, 2016
Committee on Trustees Aug 29, 2004 Mar 01, 2007
Committee on Women in Mathematics Oct 12, 2007 Mar 01, 2012
Corporate Partners Committee Feb 28, 2008 Mar 01, 2012
Corporate Partners Committee Mar 01, 2012 Feb 29, 2016
Development Committee Oct 04, 2007 Mar 01, 2012
Development Committee Mar 01, 2012 Feb 29, 2016
Endowment Campaign Committee Mar 03, 2012 Feb 29, 2016
Steering Committee Secretary of the Board (3/5/05-3/1/2008) Mar 05, 2005 Mar 01, 2008
  1. Workshop Critical Percolation and Conformally Invariant Processes

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    Apr 30, 2001
    08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
      Finite-Size Scaling in Probability and Computer Science: Part I
    Jennifer Chayes (Microsoft Research)
    May 04, 2001
    11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
      Hyperscaling and Finite-Size Scaling in Percolation, Part I
    Jennifer Chayes (Microsoft Research)