Lenore Blum

Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Lenore Blum (PhD, MIT) is Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and Founding Director of Project Olympus, an innovation center that works with faculty and students to bridge the gap between cutting-edge university research/innovation and economy-promoting commercialization for the benefit of our communities. Project Olympus is a good example of Blum’s determination to make a real difference in the academic community and the world beyond.

Lenore is internationally recognized for her work in increasing the participation of girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. She was a founder of the Association for Women in Mathematics, and founding Co-Director (with Nancy Kreinberg) of the Math/Science Network and its Expanding Your Horizons conferences for middle- and high-school girls. At CMU, she founded the Women@SCS program and CS4HS, now sponsored worldwide by Google. In 2004, she received the US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. In 2009, she received the Carnegie Science Catalyst Award, recognizing her work targeting high-tech talent to promote economic growth in the Pittsburgh region, and increasing the participation of women in computer science. In the fall of 2017, an astounding 49% of new computer science majors at Carnegie Mellon were women (up from 48% in 2016).

Lenore has served the professional community in numerous capacities, including as President of the Association for Women in Mathematics, Vice President of the American Mathematical Society, and member of the MIT Mathematics Visiting Committee. She has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, was a Senior Researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, and was Deputy Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, both also in Berkeley. She is currently on the Advisory Board of the new free online WorldQuant University, built on the premise that while talent is universally distributed, opportunity is not.

Lenore’s research, from her early work in model theory and differential fields (logic and algebra) to her more recent work in developing a theory of computation and complexity over the real numbers (mathematics and computer science), has focused on merging seemingly unrelated areas. The latter work, founding a theory of computation and complexity over continuous domains (with Felipe Cucker, Mike Shub and Steve Smale), forms a theoretical basis for scientific computation. On the eve of Alan Turing’s 100th birthday in June 2012, she was plenary speaker at the Turing Centenary Celebration at the University of Cambridge, England, showing how a little known (to logicians and computer scientists!) paper of Turing’s is fundamental to this theory.

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